Family farm dispute lands in Lincoln Co. court

By Harmon Marks | Mar 29, 2012

HAMLIN -- A matter of who is entitled to hay, tools and equipment on family property is before Lincoln Circuit Court Judge Jay M. Hoke.

Dennis Lee Collins of Hamlin complains his father, Ray W. Collins of West Hamlin, refuses to let him take possession of farm tools and implements used to cut, rake, bale and haul to storage barns a May 2011 hay crop. Plaintiff says Ray Collins won't let him on the property to remove his hay needed for four head of livestock. He says he spent "a great deal of time and money" to repair and maintain the tools/implements in question.

Attorney Jerry D. Alford of Alum Creek filed the case Jan. 24 seeking a restraining order concerning "removal of hay, tools, equipment, implements, timber, and drainage pipes" from the 60-acre parcel in which Dennis Collins has an undivided one-half remainder interest. Along with the hay crop, he seeks judgment for fair market value of any tools and equipment removed, triple damages for value of removed trees, plus further and general relief deemed appropriate.

The Sheridan District property site deed of record lists the Defendant as owner of a "life estate" of some 60 acres. D.L. Collins, according to complaint, "owns an undivided 1/2 of the remainder" of the subject estate.

Ray Collins, the complaint continues, authorized removal of drainage pipes under and across roads on the property.

The complaint says the defendant has no legal right to authorize removal of "valuable timber" from the property, says complaint and removal of trees and drain pipes "is an act of waste which materially diminishes the value of plaintiff's property interests."

R.W. Collins' counterclaim was filed Feb. 24 by attorney Cheryl L. Henderson of Huntington. Seeking jujry trial, the elder Collins asserts management of the property as he sees fit is his legal lifetime right; that Plaintiff has "threatened and bullied" him.

The original hearing on temporary injunction requested by Dennis Collins scheduled for Feb. 14 was continued because Attorney Henderson didn't have adequate time to prepare a defense and Ray Collins at that time was in a Huntington hospital.

Dennis Collins responded Feb. 29 asking Court to dismiss counterclaim.

Lincoln Circuit Court case number: 12-C-9

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