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Where property is immovable, any transfer of ownership thereto is required to be in writing. La. Civ. Code Ann. art. 2275. Indeed any dealing with realty, onerous or gratuitous, must be in writing unless the adverse party admits under oath that he made a contract affecting realty.
Lessee Adley LeBlanc removed topsoil from premises that he leased from lessor Adelaide L. Landry under a verbal lease. According to the lessee, the lessor's agent orally authorized the removal. Thereafter, the lessor notified the lessee that the lease would not be renewed and requested the lessee to return the land to its original condition by replacing the soil that had been removed. When the lessee failed to do so, the lessor filed suit for damages. The trial court concluded that the lessor failed to prove that the lessee acted without authorization and rendered judgment in favor of the lessee. Lessor appealed, alleging that the trial judge erred in admitting parol evidence relative to the alleged agent's authorization for lessee to remove the soil.
Under the circumstances, did the lessee establish that the removal of the soil was authorized?
The court reversed and rendered judgment for the lessor. Topsoil was an immovable and the transfer thereof by an agreement allowing the lessee to remove it was required to be in writing pursuant to La. Civ. Code Ann. art. 2997. Given the evidence that there was no such writing, the trial judge's decision was clearly wrong. The evidence was sufficient to enable the court to determine and award the cost of replacing the removed soil.