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Judge Allows Neighbors To Inspect Lake Monroe Property

Logging at Joe Huff's property along Lake Monroe

The legal dispute stems from a disagreement over whether a use of easement agreement allows Huff to use the access roads for logging. (Barbara Brosher, WFIU/WTIU News)

Neighbors who are suing a Lake Monroe property owner over his use of shared access roads for logging will be able to enter the property for inspection this week.

An order released Tuesday in Monroe County also grants a protective order requested by the property owner, Joe Huff, which puts certain restrictions on the inspection.  

The order says only the parties involved and two legal representatives can participate in the inspection. They must complete it on foot with no vehicles, and cannot disseminate any photos taken to anyone not involved in the lawsuit.

The order also says the neighbors cannot inspect 43 acres of land known as the “Chumley Property” because it isn’t subject to the easement agreement.

A separate order the judge issued yesterday partially grants Huff’s request for a jury trial. While the judge says it’s up to the court to determine the interpretation of the use of easement agreement and whether an injunction is warranted to stop the logging, the order says Huff is entitled to a trial by jury on two counterclaims he filed.

The counterclaims filed last year say one of the neighbors trespassed on his property, took pictures and caused physical disturbances. The second counterclaim says a neighbor also trespassed on the property and interfered with a contract by taking photos and harassing employees of a logging company working on the Huff property.

Huff’s attorney also wanted the judge to grant a change of venue so any jury trial could take place outside of Monroe County, but the order says the judge will not decide the issue until other issues in the case are resolved.

Another hearing in the case is set for next week. It will focus on the neighbors’ request to reinstate an injunction to once again halt logging on the property.

Monroe County is also suing Huff for what it says is unauthorized development on the property. 

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