Alto Township v. MendenhallAnnotate this Case
Appellants, ranchers, owned property in Alto Township separated by a section-line highway. Appellants historically fenced across the highway to join the adjacent pastures and installed gates at the highway. The township requested an injunction requiring Appellants to remove the fences that extended across the highway. Meanwhile, the county board of commissioners passed a resolution authorizing Appellants to erect and maintain fences across the section-line highway if the fences and gates met certain criteria. The trial court then enjoined Appellants from erecting and maintaining fences or gates across the highway unless they met the criteria of the resolution. After Appellants installed cattle guards and gates, the township brought a motion for contempt citation against Appellants, alleging they willfully and contumaciously failed to comply with the trial court's order. The county board of commissioners subsequently determined Appellants had complied with the resolution. The trial court found Appellants in contempt of court. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the trial court's finding of contempt was clearly erroneous because a reasonable person could conclude that Appellants complied with the trial court's order.