Lucas & Company, LLC

Equity Aids the Vigilant, Not Those Who Slumber on Their Rights

Lucas & Company, LLC

The December Edition is our second ethics case of the year. We do an Ethics Edition in June and December. Some of you are writing me privately about this edition with some very interesting comments. I would love it if you would post your comments here so that others might have the benefit of your insights into the case.

Primarily, this case is a negligence case, but negligence often rubs up against ethical issues and this case does just that. The basic elements of negligence (as discussed in the case) are a duty owed by the tortfeasor, breach of the duty, causation and damages. All four elements have to be proven by a preponderance of the evidence. Of these four elements, really the only one that the practitioner can control is a breach of the duty owed. In other words, the duty owed by the practitioner is to exercise the same standard of care as any other reasonably prudent practitioner in like or similar circumstances. Whether a duty is owed to a given plaintiff is a question of law to be decided by the court, and if the surveying activity caused damages, then the only unanswered question will be if the practitioner’s actions fell below the standard of care.

2 thoughts on “December Edition of The Lucas Letter

  1. I tried to do a Google review on Jeff Lucas and Company LLC, but for internet reasons unknown to me, I could not get that done.

    So, I will enter something into this blog. Jeff Lucas is the best person that has happened to the land surveying profession since Abraham Lincoln. So that is since 1865.

    As a practicing land surveyor in Wisconsin both in the private and public sector for over 40 years and being a county surveyor and director of surveying, mapping and GIS for 22 years of my career, I can state unequivocally that the land surveying profession in the state of Wisconsin is a mess.

    Why is that? Our profession is controlled by either bureaucrats or local elected county politicians who know nothing about what land surveying is, yet these same bureaucrats/politicians are the decision makers and largely influence the current state/fate of the land surveying profession.

    In the last 10-20 years Jeff has literally dumped the land surveying profession on its head. And it was the right thing to do. Jeff has spoken truth to the lies we have believed for far too long. Yet there are those who cannot grasp that truth, or simply refuse to take off their blinders.

    What is the essence of the problem? C. Albert White very nicely documents for us when each PLSS state stopped the authority of the surveyor general. For me in Wisconsin that dates back to about 1865 when Lincoln was shot. Stopping the authority of the surveyor general has been a huge problem for over 150 years. Given the truth that Jeff brings to the table, I therefore nominate Jeff Lucas as the Surveyor General of this country, the US. If that does not work, then each state should be contracting with Jeff Lucas to bring the truth speaking authority back to each state.

    In this country we constantly bring up the word freedom. That is what we want and cherish. There is a biblical reference to the fact the “truth will set us free.” One needs to read that biblical reference in context and I am taking it out of context, yet the principle still applies here. If we really want freedom, deal with the truth.

    Thank you Jeff, for your boldness in speaking the truth, most notably by your regular columns in POB. Keep speaking the truth because it is the right thing to do, until we finally all get it. For me it has changed my professional practice for the best and the best interests of my clients and their neighbors (and the entire general public who we are licensed to serve and protect). And given the lack of any current and real land surveying authority in any state, only God can help us then.

    Rich Leaver

    • Thank you for your kind words, Rich. Sorry we got disconnected yesterday, the power went out here at the office and I left for a while to run some errands.

      Interestingly enough, our January Edition of The Lucas Letter is directly on point with the issues we were discussing yesterday and the point that underlies your comments, above. The point is too many surveyors believe they have a license to move people’s property boundary lines around at will, either because the previous surveyor did not follow proper procedure or the pervious surveyor’s results are not close enough; meaning that those results do not meet our present precision expectations. This belief system is primarily practiced in the Public Land Surveying System (PLSS) and often plays out at the center 1/4 corner of a section (center of the section); but it is not necessarily limited to the PLSS, it is also practiced in any subdivision where the lots lines were originally protracted onto the subdivision map and not actually run in the field at the time the subdivision was created.

      The belief system has a name, it’s called the “First Surveyor Concept” or simply “First Surveyor.” The most likely genesis of that belief system is the 1989 Florida Court of Appeals case of Rivers v. Lozeau. In that case a 1964 local survey of private property known as the SE1/4 of the SW1/4 of the section, was overturned when the BLM performed a dependent resurvey of the entire section (and other sections) in 1983. A subsequent private survey of the same property in 1986 utilized the freshly minted BLM monuments and then ‘moved’ the property 30 feet south. The appellate court opinion deemed the 1964 surveyor merely the ‘first surveyor’ to attempt the subdivision of the section and since he failed to find the ‘existing’ subdivision lines identified by the BLM in 1983 and the subsequent private survey in 1986, the first surveyor was a bum whose survey could be disregarded, overturned and ‘resurveyed.’ So, everybody’s property was moved 30 feet south.

      One big problem with the case is that it is contrary to federal land law and the BLM’s interpretation of federal land law in the 1947, 1973 and 2009 Manuals. Another problem is that it generated the belief system of First Surveyor, which many (too many) surveyors bow down to even they cannot explain why.
      If you think about these things too long, Rich, they will drive you crazy. So, we have to be able to laugh about it! But it’s almost like laughing at a train wreck. … sad.

      Best Regards

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