On January 14, 2010, a Taney County jury rendered its verdict on the counterclaim of Doug Coverdell and Coverdell Enterprises against Empire District Electric Company, the Joplin-based utility that owns Lake Taneycomo and some adjacent land.
Coverdell’s counterclaim apparently sought to determine that Coverdell had better title than Empire to Branson’s North Beach Park and the north end of Branson Landing, possibly extending as far south as the north quarter of the parking garage.
The City of Branson has leased North Beach Park from Empire for decades. The deeds that the jury seemed to affirm include land that the City bought from owners other than Empire as well as land owned by persons not involved in the lawsuit.
A quiet title suit often doesn’t absolutely determine ownership, but only determines which of the litigants has a better claim to title. Without a definite legal description and the participation of all the owners, a verdict like the one here is much less than certain.
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Having reviewed portions of the court file, my tentative conclusion is that the jury’s verdict is a long way from resolving the dispute. Empire has filed a post-trial motion and others will be assessing their options. A judgment does not become final for 30 days, which can be extended by the filing of post-trial motions.