BILLY EUGENE ATKINS ET AL.
RICK ALLEN SAUNDERS ET AL.
Session February 20, 2018
from the Circuit Court for Monroe County No. V07168P Lawrence
Howard Puckett, Judge
appeal arises from a dispute between owners of a purportedly
landlocked parcel of real property and their neighbors. The
landlocked owners sought condemnation of a right-of-way or
easement in order to access a public road. After the trial
court determined that the parcel of land had no access and a
jury of view marked a road through the land of one of the
neighbors, other neighbors granted a right-of-way through
their properties to the landlocked parcel, which provided
access to a public road. The grantors of the right-of-way
then moved for summary judgment. Following a hearing at which
proof was taken, the trial court determined that the granted
right-of-way required revisions to be an adequate and
convenient outlet. After the grantors agreed to the revisions
and recorded an amended right-of-way agreement, the trial
court granted the motion for summary judgment and dismissed
the case. We affirm.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Lewis Kinnard, Madisonville, Tennessee, for the appellants,
Billy Eugene Atkins and Judith Atkins Caughron.
Carson III, Madisonville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Rick
Chris Trew and Charles C. Guinn, Jr., Athens, Tennessee, for
the appellees, Lloyd Michael Atkins, Peggy Ann Atkins,
Brandon Lloyd Atkins, and Melanie R. Atkins.
Neal McBrayer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which John W. McClarty and Thomas R. Frierson II, JJ.,
NEAL McBRAYER, JUDGE
1962, the late Kinley Atkins acquired a large farm in Monroe
County, Tennessee. After Mr. Atkins's death in the early
1990s, his widow, Marilyn Thomas Atkins, disclaimed a portion
of the farm (the "Atkins Parcel"), and its
ownership fell to their three children Billy Eugene Atkins,
Judith Atkins Caughron, and Lloyd Michael Atkins, who held
the 65-acre Atkins Parcel as tenants in common. Apparently,
over the years, Mrs. Atkins continued to divide and convey
portions of the large farm to other family members, resulting
in a patchwork of owners surrounding the Atkins Parcel.
September 2, 2011, in the Circuit Court for Monroe County,
Billy Eugene Atkins and Judith Atkins Caughron (the
"Atkins Plaintiffs") filed their amended complaint
alleging that they had no way to access the Atkins Parcel via
a public road or highway. They claimed that there was an
unrecorded right-of-way over adjoining property owned by Rick
Allen Saunders that served the Atkins Parcel but that Mr.
Saunders had denied access to that right-of-way.
Alternatively, if there were no right-of-way over the
Saunders property, the Atkins Plaintiffs requested that the
court "condemn a fifty (50) foot strip of land over [one
of the neighboring] propert[ies] . . . for ingress, egress
and all utilities" under the provisions of Tennessee
Code Annotated §§ 54-14-101 and 54-14-102 (2008).
Among others, the Atkins Plaintiffs named as defendants Mr.
Saunders and the co-owner of the Atkins Parcel, Lloyd Michael
Atkins, along with his wife, Peggy Ann Atkins, and son,
Brandon Lloyd Atkins. Like Mr. Saunders, the other defendants
owned property adjacent to the Atkins Parcel.
Saunders moved for summary judgment on the basis that the
Atkins Parcel was not landlocked. In support of his motion,
Mr. Saunders relied on several admissions from the Atkins
Plaintiffs. Among other things, the Atkins Plaintiffs
admitted that there was no right-of-way over Mr.
Saunders's property that served the Atkins Parcel. They
further admitted that timber harvested from the Atkins Parcel
had been removed via a logging road and that a lake on the
Atkins Parcel had been accessed via "a farm road"
that traversed properties of the other defendants. The Atkins
Plaintiffs also admitted that the ...