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Fly Is On Receiving End Of New Lawsuit

A blue county sign peeks out of kudzu marking County Road 161.

By David Howell

COFFEEVILLE – A family involved in the legal wrangling stemming from a county road dispute is asking a Chancery Court in Yalobusha County to determine access to public road, a property line, monetary damages and other relief.

    David M. LaGasse, Richard A. LaGasse, and Michelle LaGasse Shipman filed a lawsuit Friday in Yalobusha Chancery Court against Fletcher Fly.

    The property in question is not County Road 161, whose ownership will be settled in federal court after Fly sued Yalobusha County, but a short section of a driveway accessing the LaGasse property, off of County Road 161,  crosses Fly’s property.

    The lawsuit, which tells one side of the story, reports the LaGasses have used the road for over 30 years and have established an easement by continous usage across the portion of the land Fly claims to own linking the LaGasse property to the County Road 161. Grenada Attorney Jay Gore is presenting the LaGasse family in the case. Gore also serves as Grenada County’s Board Attorney.

    The suit also alleges that Fly has attempted to block the LaGasses from accessing their property by placing obstacles in the driveway at various times, such as a large gate chained and locked, logs, and a mound of dirt. Boundary and survey markers have also been moved and destroyed, the LaGasses allege in the lawsuit.

    The LaGasses are asking for a permanent mandatory injunction commanding Fly to cease from interfering with the use of their property, a monetary judgment against Fly for all survey costs and damages incurred while defending their property, an easement across Fly’s property to County Road 161 and for the Court to determine the proper boundaries of the common boundary between the two landowners.

County Road 161

    The family’s lawsuit comes after Fly filed a federal lawsuit against the county in January. Fly is asking for compensation for the county’s use of the road and for his road back.

    He is contesting the 2000 decision which established a Road Registry to comply with a then-new law which purported to list all public roads in the county. The Road Registry adoption came in 2000 after a lengthy process.

    Fly’s lawsuit also maintains that although the road had been a county road, it was not maintained for 20 years and the actual course of the road bed has changed.

    Yalobusha County Board Attorney John Crow is defending the county in the lawsuit. Part of the county’s defense, as reported in a federal document filed by Crow in February, maintains the federal court does not have jurisdiction to hear the case and the statute of limitations have run out.

    A March 16, 2009 court date has been set.

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