APPEAL FROM THE SEBASTIAN COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, GREENWOOD DISTRICT. NO. CV-12-235G. HONORABLE JAMES O. COX, JUDGE.
Michael Hamby, P.A., by: Michael Hamby, for appellant.
Walters, Gaston, Allison & Parker, by: Troy Gaston, for appellee.
BART F. VIRDEN, Judge. GLOVER, J., agrees. GRUBER, J., concurs. RITA W. GRUBER, Judge, concurring.
BART F. VIRDEN, Judge
Appellant Georgina Peavler appeals from the Sebastian County Circuit Court's decree quieting title to a tract of land in appellee Shirley Bryant based on adverse possession. We agree with Peavler that the trial court erred in its decision, and therefore reverse and remand for the trial court to enter an order consistent with this opinion.
Freda A. Polton left a lot in Greenwood to her children, Peavler, Robert E. Mason, and Cathy H. Marvel. An executor's deed dated May 1993 indicates that Mason was to receive a life estate, and the property would then revert to Peavler and Marvel at Mason's death. In January 1994, Marvel conveyed her interest in the property to Peavler.
A July 2002 warranty deed from Mason purported to convey fee-simple title in the land to Larry and Andrea Gaston. Property taxes from 1999 to 2002 were not paid, and the land was forfeited to the State. Andrea Gaston was the highest bidder at a tax sale, and in May 2004, a limited warranty deed was issued to her by the State. In January 2005, the Gastons issued a quitclaim deed to Shirley Bryant, Larry Gaston's mother. The Commissioner of State Lands issued two redemption deeds, each covering one of two parcels of land. The first was to Bryant in March 2007 and reflects that she paid delinquent taxes owed from 2003 to 2005. The second redemption deed was issued in July 2010 to the Gastons, who paid delinquent taxes owed from 2007 to 2008. The Gastons conveyed their remaining interest in the property to Bryant in August 2010. Mason died in 2012.
In November 2012, Bryant filed a complaint to quiet title to the land. In an amended answer and counterclaim, Peavler denied the general allegations of Bryant's complaint and counterclaimed, alleging that the redemption deeds were void, voidable, or defective based on, among other things, lack of notice to her. Bryant amended her complaint to assert that she had adversely possessed the land.
II. Hearing--March 28, 2014
Larry and Andrea Gaston, Bryant's predecessors, testified that they bought the land from Mason in 2002. They did not have a title search conducted, did not buy title insurance, and did not ...