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Burkey v. Geoff Post

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

June 28, 2018

GLENN R. BURKEY ET AL.
v.
GEOFF POST ET AL.

          Assigned on Briefs June 1, 2017

          Appeal from the Chancery Court for Marion County No. 7779 Jeffrey F. Stewart, Chancellor

         In this case, the plaintiffs sued the defendants for constructing a gate that interfered with their use of an existing gravel road located on the defendants' farm. According to the plaintiffs, access to their property required use of the gravel road. The gravel road in question crosses two separate tracts owned by the defendants and runs southwest to northeast from a state highway through the defendants' farm and then east to west through another tract. Although the plaintiffs claimed that the easement was fifty-feet in width along its entire length, the court found that the section of the road running through the defendants' farm was a public road with a width of only twelve feet. The court also denied the plaintiffs' request for discretionary costs. The plaintiffs appeal the court's finding concerning the width of the public road and the denial of discretionary costs. Discerning no error, we affirm.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Chancery Court Affirmed

          M. Keith Davis, Dunlap, Tennessee, for the appellants, Glenn R. Burkey and Pamela Burkey.

          J. Harvey Cameron, Jasper, Tennessee, for the appellees, Geoffrey Post and Nancy Post.

          Julian L. Bibb III and Erika R. Barnes, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Land Trust for Tennessee, Inc.

          W. Neal McBrayer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which John W. McClarty and Arnold B. Goldin, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          W. NEAL McBRAYER, JUDGE

         I.

         A.

         Geoffrey Post and his wife Nancy Post own a 446.2-acre farm in Marion County, Tennessee. They acquired the farm from Holland M. Ware on February 6, 2004.

         To the north of the Post farm lies the "Hargiss Property," which is composed of three separate tracts.[1] From west to east, these tracts are identified as Tract Two, Tract One, and Tract Three. At one point, Mike Cardin owned all three tracts, but he later transferred each tract to different owners. Over time, the Posts came to own Tract One and Tract Three of the Hargiss Property. Tract Two, the westernmost tract of the Hargiss Property, is now owned by Glenn R. Burkey and his wife, Pamela Burkey.

         According to the Burkeys, access to Tract Two requires the use of an existing gravel road that crosses both the Post farm and Tract One. Specifically, from State Highway 156, they must travel northeast through the Post farm along the gravel road up to a gate located at Tract One. Then, they must travel west across Tract One along a connecting gravel road, which leads to the southeastern corner of their property, Tract Two.

         The drawing below shows the general location of the properties, as well as the approximate ...


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