Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Messenger: St. Louis Couple Wins Battle over Bully Who Blocked Their Property

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Messenger: St. Louis Couple Wins Battle over Bully Who Blocked Their Property

Article excerpt

The camper had sprung a leak.

It's not surprising, really.

Kevin and Robyn Kulage hadn't been to their property in Iron County in more than a year. Since March 2016, the camper had sat there like a lonely sentry on 40 acres on the hill, near Peter Cave Hollow Creek and backing up against Mark Twain National Forest.

Last weekend, the Jefferson County couple returned to their little slice of heaven, having won a protracted legal battle against a bully who tried to block them from their land.

"The camper had developed a few leaks from being neglected, but it didn't dampen our weekend," Kevin told me. "It's weird, because it didn't feel like we haven't been down in a year and a half. I mean the time that we weren't allowed to be there and fighting to get there seemed to be taking forever. But once we were there it didn't seem like we had been away that long from it."

The fighting ended July 19. That's when Madison County Circuit Court Judge Rob E. Fulton issued a judgment that a neighbor of the Kulages, James M. Summers, had improperly blocked the couple from their property. Fulton was clearly not enamored with having to settle a case that never should have taken so much time.

"This case is a prime example of a case that is ultimately decided by credibility determinations," Fulton wrote. "This Court, in light of the trial has had a unique opportunity to observe and note the behaviors, actions, demeanors, habits and facial expressions of the parties, hereto, as well as the various witnesses that appeared at the trial. This Court finds that the Plaintiffs (the Kulages) are credible witnesses. The court finds that the Defendant Summers is much less credible."

I knew the Kulages were credible the first time I met them. That was in December 2016, when they told me the incredible story of how their dream property turned into a legal nightmare. Kevin grew up in Hazelwood, Robyn in St. John. They met in 1987 at the Brass Spur bar on Natural Bridge Road. They got married. On many weekends they would go camping. Eventually they took out a second mortgage to buy property, the 40 acres in Iron County. It had a spring, wildlife, views and silence. For more than 10 years, they took care of it, parking a camper there as their home away from home. …

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