The Court concluded testimony late in the evening on March 10, 2016 as to the temporary restraining order entered on February 23. Ruffner seeks a preliminary injunction, as would effectively extend the terms set forth in that order until such time as the trial of the case is conducted.
The parties expect a ruling on the injunction next week. For now, the temporary restraining order remains in full force and effect. Ruffner claims an easement by prescription of the subject trailhead, citing evidence of the public's use in accessing the Preserve for more than 20 years.
Should Ruffner succeed at trial, a permanent easement, or even ownership, is expected to result.
J&S International disputes Ruffner's claims, and seeks instead to terminate all future access to the Preserve from the trailhead through the erection of a large industrial facility with gated, razor wire fencing across the entirety of the established trailhead. The contested parcel, as has afforded access to the 1,000+ acres of public and preserve lands for decades, also encompasses the Historic Birmingham Mineral Rail Line, an easement for which had previously been in place since the mid-1800's.
We would like to thank Billy Weems and Elizabeth Blair for their support and invaluable counsel in this matter. Also, a very special thank you to The Honorable Judge Smitherman for hearing our case and her magnanimity in general.
Stay tuned for more updates.