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When standing crops do not belong to the owner of the land, they are regarded as movables subject to separate ownership rather than as a part of the land. Such crops are treated as if they were harvested. La. Civ. Code Ann. art. 465.
Plaintiff farmer entered into a verbal lease with the landowners, whereby plaintiff acquired the right to farm a tract of land. Thereafter, the landowners executed an oil lease on the property, granting the defendant oil well drillers the right to use the land to explore for oil. The oil lease was duly recorded. The defendants paid the landowners for damages and received a release from them. However, defendants made no payment to plaintiff farmer, who thereafter, brought an action ex delicto, or in tort, for damages to his growing soybean crop. The trial court granted recovery. The court of appeal reversed and dismissed the farmer's suit. The plaintiff farmer sought review of the decision.
Could the plaintiff farmer recover damages to his crop?
The court held that the farmer could not recover for damages to his crop. The court noted that only the oil lease was recorded. The court held that separate crop ownership arising from a lease could be asserted against third persons only when the lease was recorded. The court held that the standing crop was considered as part of the land.