WADE H. HARDY JR. AND NORMA F. HARDY APPELLANTS
GENE WILLIAM HARDY, HILDA M. HARDY, FRANK LEE CONWAY JR., KAREN H. CONWAY AND JULIE LIVILLE APPELLEES
OF JUDGMENT: 10/11/2016
MARSHALL COUNTY CHANCERY HON. ROBERT Q. WHITWELL JUDGE
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANTS: KENT E. SMITH
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEES: JENNIFER LEE SHACKELFORD
LEE, C.J., BARNES AND TINDELL, JJ.
Wade H. Hardy Jr. (Hamp) and his wife Norma appeal the
Marshall County Chancery Court's decision to deny an
easement by necessity to use Gene Hardy's portion of
Hardy Lane. Finding no error, we affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
In 1958, W.H. Hardy acquired title to an eighty-acre parcel
of land in Marshall County, Mississippi. In 1977, his sons
Hamp and Gene, along with their wives, purchased the
eighty-acre parcel. In February 1992, Hamp and Gene divided
the eighty-acre parcel equally between themselves into two
forty-acre parcels. They used a road designated as
"Hardy Lane" as the access point to the properties.
Although the road is reflected on the Marshall County tax
map, the county never adopted Hardy Lane as a county road or
maintained or improved it. The parties and their families
lived on these two forty-acre parcels and all mutually used
Hardy Lane as the ingress and egress to their homes.
In 2006, Hamp and Norma moved to Aberdeen. Until that time,
they had used Hardy Lane daily without incident for access to
their "home place, " which refers to their home,
shop, barn, silo, and RV cover positioned on their parcel.
For several years after they moved, Hamp would return twice
monthly to mow and otherwise maintain the property. However,
due to expense and travel, Hamp discontinued visits to or
maintenance of his parcel, and the land became overgrown.
Eventually, Hamp expressed his desire to sell his land. To
obstruct the road from use by any potential buyers, Gene
parked his tractor at the end of his driveway, in the middle
of Hardy Lane. Gene never denied Hamp or Norma access down
Hardy Lane, but Gene expressly stated he would not grant an
easement to any potential buyers. Hamp maintained that he
needed the easement providing access to the home place in
order to sell the land.
Hamp and Norma filed suit in chancery court seeking an order
declaring them the owners of an implied easement or easement
by necessity. After a bench trial, the chancellor held,
"in this case . . . there is an alternative route that
[Hamp] can use and get to his property and, therefore, this
is not an easement by necessity." Hamp and Norma now
This Court "will not disturb the findings of a
chancellor when supported by substantial evidence unless the
chancellor abused his discretion, was manifestly wrong or
clearly erroneous, or applied an erroneous legal
standard." Smith v. Pettigrew, 223 So.3d 173,
176 (¶13) (Miss. Ct. App. 2017) (quoting Wilburn v.