Property dispute case rescheduled

NEW CUMBERLAND – The trial to settle an ongoing property dispute between the Hancock County Commission and attorney Lawrence Manypenny has been rescheduled for June 4.

The bench trial was set to begin today in Hancock County Circuit Court but could not go forward because of a scheduling conflict. In setting a new date, visiting Judge David W. Hummel Jr. of Marshall County Circuit Court also denied the commission’s motion for summary judgment.

Hummel noted in his order that the motion was filed in an untimely manner and that commissioners “failed to submit any evidence or affidavit in support of the motion.”

Hummel said he will let the case proceed to trial despite being “inclined to dismiss (commissioners’) claims for want of prosecution.” He also said that because the county failed to produce witness lists in a timely manner, commissioners will not be able to submit any expert testimony during the trial.

Commissioners took Manypenny and his wife, Constance, to court in February 2013 after the New Cumberland attorney, whose office sits next to Hancock County Magistrate Court, erected orange pylons, caution tape and “no trespassing” signs between the two buildings in an attempt to delineate his property.

Manypenny claims ownership of the land up to and including the magistrate court sidewalk and enclosed staircase, as well as a portion of the county parking lot immediately north of his office building.

Commissioners claim the magistrate court building sits on parcels acquired by the county in 1976 and 1982, and that they’re entitled, under the legal doctrine of adverse possession, to use land that has been used by the general public for 30 years.