Couple Sue Farmers to Keep Cows Off Land A legal battle is brewing between the Legares and the Hughes family, which owns a landlocked, 1-acre, waterfront lot on the tip of the peninsula. And it highlights the clash between agriculture and development on the largely rural island. ~ The Post and Courier
Do Good Fences Make Good Neighbors? Feuding Neighbors’ Lawsuit Spells Trouble for John’s Island — and You A neighbor’s lawsuit may force Helen Legare Floyd, Linda Legare Berry and Thomas Legare, Jr., whose family has been farming on John’s Island since 1725, to sell the family farm. ~ Charleston Mercury
Island gal wrote on Dec 23, 20119:25 PM:
” Shame on Dr Hughes. To pursue a lawsuit rather than to talk to her neighbors is a waste of time for the courts and money for the Legares. If she really is afraid of cows she never should have moved toJohnsIsland! ”
Dawn wrote on Dec 23, 201110:17 PM:
” How sad the Hughes are choosing this route since they were aware of the roadway situation when they purchased. The Legare family has been on the property for generations. Certainly, the Hughes will spend more than the cost of the fence and roadway in a lawsuit. It sounds more like they are helping developers find a way to force the Legares to sell. I would be interested in knowing if the Hughes are party to any land development projects in the area.
You can be assured I will not be visitingRoperHospital, or Dr. Hughes anytime soon. This is wrong in so many ways! My prayers are with the Legares and other farmers like them. ”
OutragedReader wrote on Dec 24, 201112:04 PM:
” They knew what they were buying. The Hughes family should drop the lawsuit and move if they are unhappy. How compassionate to file a lawsuit and refuse care for one of their patients over a situation of their own making. ”
Concerned Local wrote on Dec 26, 20114:07 PM:
” People like “Billy” and Beth Hughes are exactly what is wrong with this country…entitlement attitudes have gone too far! I find it disgraceful that there are people in our community like the Hughes family, yet their “kind” are becoming more common than ever. What would be even more difficult to swallow is if the ruling goes against the Legare family. Was there only option a law suit? Were ther any civil attempts to come to agreement? One would think that common sense would prevail in the courts and that this suit would be tossed out quickly, however things are not always that simple. It is absolutely ludacris for the Hughes family to demand any changes years after they purchased this property. I can only assume there was a legal agreement in place at the time of purchase regarding the easement and right of way. They knew what they were getting in to when they bought that plot and are complete a**holes if they expect life to change for their convenience! If they dont like it they should move, end of story. We should be fighting to preserve our local agriculture not finding ways to destroy it. The Legare’s are good people, a huge asset to our community, and a dying breed that needs protection and preservation. We can only hope that this will work out best for the Legare family and our community. The Hughes family should be ashamed of themselves…we can only hope they will one day get what they truly deserve. ”
Mahlon wrote on Dec 26, 20116:19 PM:
” I find it interesting that the Hughes were satisfied using the easement to access their property for 11 years, and now, the use of the easement is insufficient. The Legare’s don’t and shouldn’t be required to fence their property, repair the roadway, or maintain it. A right of way is exactly that – a requirement to allow access. Perhaps this has more to do with the saleability of the Hughes home than the neighbor’s cows. Even then, the Hughes could put in an electric gate to their property and avoid Mrs. Hughes the trouble of getting out of her car. She could add a spotlight to her vehicle. Besides, suing is a cowardly way to voice their desire for someone else to shoulder the expense of making their lives better. ”
Katie Brown wrote on Dec 27, 20119:29 AM:
” Wow! The Legares,as well as their farm, have always been such a blessing to have in the Charelston community. From their fall festivities to their battle re-enactments to always donating their time and talent to childrens festivals to providing local produce etc., they have been here to keepCharlestonreal. It is very sad to hear a story like this. Hopefully the Hughes will sell their home to people who are more accepting of nature and farming. Why would they have chosen to move there in the first place is my question. ”
Becky Mt. Pleasant wrote on Dec 27, 201110:08 AM:
” I feel like this article is very well written, presenting both sides of the situation. Our family has been blessed by Legare Farms through their “adopt a chick” program. What a wonderful adventure it was to raise 4 chicks for two weeks! Our children, who would have NEVER been able to even sample farm life, still talk about that experience years later! There are many doctors that care for many people, but there are not many farms that reach out to our community! If the article is true to the facts, the Hughes family, in my humble opinion, should be ashamed. Family heritage and self-sacrifice vs. wealth and selfishness. What kind of example is that to all the generations of children that have benefited from the one-of-a-kind programs Legare offers? What goes around, will come back around. ”
Helen Legare-Floyd wrote on Dec 27, 201110:51 AM:
” Thank you to Tom Robinson and everyone at the Mercury for bringing to light the struggles my family are experiencing. Tom did a great job of listening to the story and writing it so that it was easy to understand. We won’t go down without a fight. ”
Michael Light wrote on Dec 27, 201111:10 AM:
” I was surprised to learn that the waterfront home owner could not have installed a reasonably inexpensive automatic gate to solve his wife’s night-time concerns… and that he was not delighted to participate in road improvements since he is a neighbor and beneficiary.
Our family has carried grand daughters and friends down that road to the farm many Summer days and found the Legare family a delight to do business with and to have as acquaintances. ”
Post and Courier Comments
Carin Germershausen Seward 3:20 AM on 12/26/2011
Really? It looks like a Chick-fil-A commercial? Those cows are brilliant then .. they can write, ride on elevators, walk on their hind legs and all kinds of cool stuff. The Hugheses shouldn’t be scared of them at all!!! Maybe the cows will write some signs to hang on theGATEto say “We were here first.. deal with it !”
Pepper Lewis 6:56 AMon12/26/2011
Amazing how people want everything else to change to suit them but not the other way around.
Amy Hendrickson 9:47 AM on12/26/2011
Typical city folks moving to the country and want the country to change. They BOUGHT a LANDLOCKED property, knowing full well that they were going to have to travel across PASTURE to reach their home. If they don’t want the cows on their property – FENCE IT, even the marsh side. Get themselves a nice wide gate to go across the drive at the beginning of the property and stop being so whiney
Gigi Spires 11:33 AMon12/26/2011
I have posted and reposted several times!!!!!!!
Bonnie Ellefson 12:54 PMon12/26/2011
Time for the Hughes family to pack up and move back to the city life…looks like Green Acres wasn’t their cup of tea…She’s a doctor, I’m sure she can afford a fence. As far as easement rights we’ve gone through easement proceedings and DO NOT have to maintain anything for anyone else…The Legare family gave just what they were supposed to…a way in and out of their landlocked acre..many land owners wouldn’t have even done that…
Roberta Blocker 3:42 PM on12/26/2011
my family in the early 1900. worked for the legare family . my cousin was named legare in honor of that family . it seems the side of reason is get used to animals the huges family just do not get a farmers life .
therapyrott 9:22 PM on12/26/2011
I am amazed that this lawsuit even came to fruition. It is “udder”ly ridiculous.
I fully support the Legare’s on this. If farm living ain’t for the Hughes’, they need to pack it on up and head it on out. Leave the farmers to their way of life.
Martin Streett 8:22 AM on12/27/2011
The Hughes are probably idiot yankees that come down and expect everyone to bow down and adapt to what they want. What the hell did these morons expect when they bought a plot that was land-locked by a farm with the only road going through the farm? Duh-you think there might be farm animals wondering around? Let’s hope the next Big Storm washes the Hughes house and land away so they’ll move.
Terry Cerisoles 11:21 AM on12/27/2011
Folks here’s how to remedy this: 1) Boycott Bill Hughes companty Port City Supply in NorthCharleston2) TEll Roper hospital we dont need any doctors who sue their dying patients 3) Vote out Joe Qualey 4) Support Legare Farms by buying their products and 5) thank god we still have farmers!
Michele Gosdin Flaherty 6:24 PM on12/27/2011
I love Legare Farm. I cannot believe how crazy this lawsuit is. If you don’t want the cows on your land, then you should fence your own land …all the way around. If you leave the marsh open and you know the cows are coming in at that spot, then you are an idiot. Why should the Legare’s pay to fence their wonderful free roaming animals? It is your problem.
As for the road, the Hughes bought the house with the road in its current condition. I have driven down that road for years going to events or visiting the farm.
Sounds like the Hughes need to sell their property and move to a downtown lot with no trees.
I am certainly glad that names have been named here. I can say with 100% certainty that I would drop Beth Hughes as my family doctor (if she were our doctor) after reading this article. I cannot believe that she sued her own patients and didn’t even bother to tell them herself…but sent an impersonal letter.
Kevin Buckner 8:27 AM on12/28/2011
Just one more time were the American Farmer is getting it up the you know what. I was raised on a Dairy Farm inOhiowas some of the best times of my life. It prepared me for life and what I have done in my life in the Army! If they don’t like it move that’s all I have to say!! LoveCharlestonand the life onJohnsIsland.
Randall Horres 9:14 AM on12/28/2011
after all the legare family has done for the kids ,education and the people of johns island ,this lawsuit is a slap in the face to every resident on the island ,and just just like when ernie irvin crossed ambrose family farms they were forced off the islands and now its time for the hughes to go ,i know some signs are being put up on main road and maybank highway and river road that have the cell phone ,work and home numbers for dr francis beth hughes and her husband ,people need to call them and let them know they are no longer welcome on our island ,i have heard their home is for sale ???? after this legal battle they wont be able to give it away,
Randall Horres 12:58 PM on12/28/2011
just got a quote from johns island post office to mail out fliers to every resident on the island with the details of this case along with the phone numbers for dr. beth hughes ,office home and cell ,mr hughes and joe qualey’s numbers ,its around $500 ,ill put up $250 but need someone to do the cumputer graphic work , lets get these folks off our island !!!
Jonathan Bowers 10:50 PM on12/24/2011
Having been to the Legare’s farm many many times over the years i can attest to the fact that the road is maintained superior to most state maintained dirt roads in the region. I have yet to have a problem with any of the cows or other animals on the farm. All of them are friendly and not the least bit aggressive towards humans. Its a fact of life, move next to a farm, expect to see animals. After all the cows were there long before 2005 so it is not like they Legares hide anything about what to expect driving through their property. Simple solution, if they don’t want to drive down the road, come and go via boat.
Sid Busch 2:56 AM on12/25/2011
I agree with you 100 percent.
Sid Busch 2:55 AM on12/25/2011
When these people purchased the plot,was it in the contract that the road would be maintained and animals kept off the road?
Thomas Legare 6:46 AM on12/25/2011
Mr. Busch, I’d like to clarify something the article didn’t make real clear. The Hughes didn’t buy the lot from any member of the Legare family. The last time anyone related to the Legares owned the lot was over 30 years ago when it was owned by my father’s first cousin, and his children sold it after his death. My father and grandfather never owned this lot. So the Hughes have never had any kind of real estate contract with the Legare family. Always enjoy your letters and comments. Merry Christmas. Thomas Legare
Jay Hughes 10:19 AM on12/25/2011
Mr. Legare did not answer your question, “When these people purchased the plot,was it in the contract that the road would be maintained …?”
Sid Busch 11:39 AM on12/25/2011
I believe he did answer my question. He said his Father and Grandfather never owned this lot,so the Hughes have never has any kind of real estate contract with the Legare Family.
Sid Busch 11:41 AM on12/25/2011
Mr Legare,thank you , and Merry Christmas to you also,and a VERY HAPPYNEWYEAR.
miswesamoves 8:15 AM on12/25/2011
I agree with Mr. Bowers and the info in the article regarding the history of farming/livestock on the property…It was going on long before the houses were built. I think the Hughes need get over themselves and work with the Legares to come up with a mutually acceptable solution. Oh, and Thanks for enlightening us even more on the history of the property, Mr. Legare! From what I can gather…THISAIN’T YOUR PROBLEM!!!
miswesamoves 8:20 AM on12/25/2011
This reminds me of the the time the people that live in the neighborhood next to the Landfill out on Bee’s Ferry… These transplanted A-WHOLES wanted the DUMP MOVED…REALLY? It’s been there since I was a little girl (in my late 40′s now) and the developer built KNOWING this…I had to laugh when Kirky Kirkland put ‘em in their place in his Letter to the Editor…
Chris Marley 9:00 AM on12/25/2011
Is this the same Joe Qualey that is servingJamesIslandon the Charleston County Council? Does farming have a place inCharlestoncountyan ylonger or is it more important forCharelestonCountyto pave over farms and create plastic plantation developments and freeways to mega-malls? I think you have Joe Qualey’s answer.
Chris Marley 1:50 PM on12/25/2011
The initial suit actually named Ann Legare, the patient of Dr. Hughes, and Thomas, Jr. (although he at the time did not own the property). Thomas, who was running for County Council, was served papers at a candidate debate event in Edisto. He had supported the opponent of Joe Qualey, who was also running for council in a different district. Was that a coincidence or bad blood?
Jeanne McCarthy Harrison 9:04 AM on12/25/2011
I think it is detestable that the Hughes family would sue over such trivial maters. I am sure they were well aware that was a rural area when they purchased the land. Hopefully they will come to an agreement that will not affect the farm in an adverse way. It is a shame that people move to the Lowcountry for it’s charm and then expect us to change our way of life to suite them.
Jay Hughes 10:15 AM on12/25/2011
Would think it was “detestable” if emergency vehicles could not reach your house? There is always two sides to a story?
Susan Breslin 11:48 AM on12/25/2011
Where does it say that the Hugheses “moved to the Lowcountry”?
Jonathan Bowers 1:43 PM on12/25/2011
Jay, where are you getting this idea that emergency vehicles cannot make it down this road to the home? I have seen first hand emergency vehicles on this road, both police vehicles and fire trucks. The simple idea that a dirt road cannot make it down this road is absurd. I have seen the tiniest of sedans make it down this road. Do you really think that a simple dirt road would impede a vehicle? I guarantee right now that i can take a small vehicle down the road in question. Now here is my question, what is your relationship to the family?
Helen Legare-Floyd 3:30 PM on12/25/2011
I live at the end of the same dirt road as the Hughes. My house was hit by lightening twice in 2009 and caught on fire. The fire trucks had no problem reaching us both times. My sister and brother in law also live on the dirt road and have had theEMSto their house numerous times. So saying that emergency vehicles can’t get to the Hughes house is just trying to sensationalize the situation.
Jeanne McCarthy Harrison 9:06 PM on12/25/2011
Well.. it sounds like you got the smackdown on the emergency vehicle reply if they are able to easily reach the neighbors that also live down the road. And maybe I was misguided in my saying that they moved to the Lowcountry. I assumed that they moved here because local people have enough sense to know a farm involves animals..and most of us can come to a peaceful agreement with our neighbors without involving a lawsuit. sad.
Floyd Harper 9:14 AMon12/25/2011
I think it’s analogous to one moving toPark Avenueand demanding that the city do something about all the traffic.
Barbara Shealy 10:15 AM on12/26/2011
Roxanne Ruff 9:52 AM on12/25/2011
Really??….Why on earth would anyone want to take away someones way of making a living??….Maybe the doctor and her husband should look into a BEACH home….but remember, the waves do crash continuously and sometimes the Hurricanes threaten…..can you say…..GETOVER IT??????
Emily Constantine 9:58 AM on12/25/2011
Unbelievable…it’s not a surprise that if you purchase land ON AFARM, attached TO AFARMthat you will have livestock. The Hughes’ should be ashamed of themselves for suing this family. Have they tried talking human to human to work this out? Sorry, but no sympathies here.
pluffmud 10:34 AM on12/25/2011
Another case similar to the one the “race car driver” brought against the Ambrose’s a few years ago.
http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2009/dec/02/ex-racer-irvan-wife-sue-to-limit-get-this-cars/ Ridiculous – the Hughes’ knew what and where they were buying. If they don’t like it they can move on! If this case gets to a jury, Lord let me serve on it.
Matt Jenkins 10:45 AM on12/25/2011
Susan Breslin 11:45 AM on12/25/2011
Where does it say they’re Yankees?
Chris Marley 1:28 PMon12/25/2011
Not sure, but a short biolgraphy appears here: http://www.islandinternalmed.com/Doctors.aspx
David Arthur Tester 11:24 AM on12/25/2011
Hughes–get a life and enjoy where you are–sounds like a neat location…if u r city folks, you shouldn’t have moved there–don’t you think humanity has enough strife?
Sid Busch 11:54 AM on12/25/2011
“the Hughes family, which owns a landlocked, 1-acre, waterfront lot on the tip of the peninsula” and”William and Frances Beth Hughes, who must drive across the Legares’ pasture to get to their home “
Going by these two pieces of information,the Hughes must have known the access to their lot was thru land owned by the Legares. If the land is owned by the legares,isnt it with in there right to stop all access on that land,and also, charge the Hughes access rights?
Mykal Harley 12:56 PM on12/25/2011
I have been a friend of the Legare Family for many years. As a matter of fact I was working on the farm when the Hughes first moved in. I don’t know what prompted this ridicules law suit, but it is absurd. This family has been farming this land for hundreds of years. This is the problem withAmerica. We would rather buy our food from some foreign country than support our own working farms. What is going to happen when we can no longer import. meats, fruit, and vegetables. Our farms are dying all over this country and we better realize before it is to late. Evidently the Hughes do not support their local community.Have these people lost there minds. I do have one question. Is it not the LAW that if you have a pool on your property it is supposed to be completely enclosed on all sides, so they wild life and children do not drown? I would love to know the answer to this question because I am pretty sure I am correct. I would like to say to the Hughes, I never thought in million years y’all were this type of people. SHAME ON YOU BOTH and your political lawyer. To Helen, Thomas, and Linda keep fighting. I do believe the true Americans are behind you 100%.
Charles Poulnot 2:49 PM on12/25/2011
between federal government regulations, lawyers like joe qualey and do goodering idiots like the hughes’s; the family farm, such as the legares is marked for extinction
EM Skidmore 6:06 PM on12/25/2011
they better not take this one to a jury, cause weSouth Carolinians love our farmers and their animals.
aa4pc 8:02 PM on12/25/2011
The farm WAS there fiorst, and they newcomers DID know what they were moving next to. It sounds like a case of “Why did you get on the train if you knew it goes to Cleveland?”
A frivolous lawsuit, and the plaintiff should be required to pay the defendants costs.
Thomas Legare 10:17 PM on12/25/2011
I’d like to thank everyone for their comments. It means a lot that so many people care about our farm. I dont know how long the P and C keep these comments and this page open, but if anyone wants to keep updated they can visit both the Legare Farms and my facebook page. We also will be posting info on the Legare farms web site. Even though we are being sued personally, this will put our farm out of business if we lose any part of this lawsuit, so we will be posting info there and you can email us at email@example.com. Thank you and Merry Christmas to everyone.
Jeanne Murray 10:36 PM on12/25/2011
I’ve posted, tweeted, etc on all the social networks I am on (5). Gonna hit my LinkedIn profile next. You have my support! I look forward to the day those outsiders lose the case & sell & move away!!!
Jacob Nickerson 10:42 PM on12/25/2011
It’s nice to see nearly all the comments on the side of reason.
Cliff Klaven 11:07 PM on12/25/2011
The Hughes family is losing a golden opportunity for some great family stories. Imagine the get-togethers 50 years from now. There could be stories about cows in the yard, about feeding donkeys from the car, about roosters on the porch, etc. Life shouldn’t be neat, tidy, shrink-wrapped in plastic, with a springtime-fresh scent.
And shame on Joe Qualey for taking this case.
Mary Grady 11:58 PM on12/25/2011
This mess reminds me of people (non-golfers) who buy homes on a golf course. They don’t want to play golf, they know nothing about golf, but they understand there is a certain status to living on the course. However, after a few months, they are ranting and raging because golfers keep coming in their yard and their homeowners insurance is higher to insure against windows, etc. being struck by golf balls. The golf course was there first and these flaws were apparent. The same is true with buying this lot. You’re getting a beautiful waterfront lot in an idyllic setting, but there is a price to pay. You do not own access to the property and the local “wild”life (albeit domesticated) is going to wander around.