In a civil case involving a company owned by Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) director John Cooper, the defendant has filed for a preliminary injunction to stop Cooper's company and new plaintiffs from keeping the defendant from his property.
The civil case was filed following a criminal charge in the property dispute case in Marshall County.
The suit was filed by Cooper in the name of his company, South Sauty Creek Resort, Inc., against the neighbor who pressed the criminal charges against him, Gerald Carter. The suit also names Carter's wife and First State Bank, where the Carters' mortgage is held. Cooper claims the easement the Carters are trying to use to gain access to their property does not exist. The suit claims the Carters trespassed on Cooper's property after a warning.
George Carter told 1819 News the easement was deeded to his family and that Cooper's wife previously signed a conveyance on the property.
Two other plaintiffs who own property near Carter's property have joined the complaint along with South Sauty Creek Resort, Inc. The Crabtree family accused the Carters of clearing property the Crabtrees owned to get to the Carter property. They want $50,000 plus interest from the Carter family.
The plaintiffs also stated that the Carters planned to subdivide the property for sale and claimed the Marshall County Commission had not approved a plat for that.
Carter placed a "For Sale" sign up at the property but told 1819 News he was only planning to sell a couple of lots of the property. He plans to keep some property for himself, where he plans to retire.
A new filing in the civil lawsuit accuses the plaintiffs of adding barbed wire and "keep out" signs at the property entrance. The defendants filed for a preliminary injunction while the case was being decided in court.
"Over this past Labor Day weekend, the Carters went to visit their property only to find their access drive to their property coming off of a recorded easement – which the Plaintiff South Sauty Creek Resort, Inc., previously granted – was blocked by triple-strand barbed wire, Posted signs, No Trespassing signs, and Caution tape," the filing states. "It is believed that one or more of the Plaintiffs placed the blockade."
The Carters believe the plaintiffs brought the lawsuit because they do not want them to "use, access or develop" the property.
"The Plaintiffs placement of barbed-wire fencing, Caution tape, No Trespassing signs, and Posted signs seeks to permanently deprive the Carters of their deeded and long recognized property rights – property rights which were originally deeded to the Carters predecessors in title by the Plaintiffs themselves," the latest filing continues.
"We feel like we've been wronged, and we look forward to letting the court have the final decision," Carter told 1819 News Monday.
The criminal case against Cooper will resume after the civil case is settled.
The civil case will be in the 27th Judicial Circuit, presided over by Judge Christopher Abel.
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