FROM THE BRADLEY COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 06CV-13-54-2]
HONORABLE B. KENNETH JOHNSON, JUDGE.
Law Office, by: Charles Sidney Gibson, for appellants.
Claycomb, Roper & Anderson, PLLC, by: Richard L. Roper,
W. GRUBER, Judge.
parties in this case are adjoining property owners of
unenclosed, unimproved land in Bradley County who share a
common boundary line. The dispute between them involves a
road that runs east and west along the entire length of that
boundary line on the northern boundary of appellee's land
and just south of the southern boundary of appellants'
property. Appellants, Helen Williams, Barbara Primm, and
Allen Primm, appeal from an order of the Bradley County
Circuit Court denying their claims of prescriptive easement,
adverse possession, and boundary by acquiescence. On appeal,
appellants argue that the circuit court's findings are
clearly erroneous. We affirm the circuit court's order.
Double S Ranch, LLC, is owned by Stan and Linda Sweeney. The
Sweeneys purchased their property-described as the Northwest
Quarter of Section 27, Township 16 South, Range 12 West-in
1998 and settled record title of the property in appellee in
2000. Helen Williams and her (now deceased) husband, Earnest,
acquired a partial interest in what is now her tract in 1954
and full ownership in 1978. Ms. Williams's tract is
described as the Southeast Quarter of Section 22, Township 16
South, Range 12 West. Ms. Williams is Linda Sweeney's
aunt; Barbara Primm is Ms. Williams's daughter and Linda
Sweeney's first cousin; and Allen and Barbara are
married. Surveys introduced by both parties indicate that the
road in dispute is located entirely on appellee's
or 2010, Mr. Sweeney erected a gate across the road. Several
years later, Ms. Primm called Mr. Sweeney to express her
disapproval of the gate, and they arranged a meeting to
discuss the issue. In July 2012, Mr. Sweeney and Mr. Primm
met at the site of the gate in an attempt to work out their
differences but were unable to come to an agreement. A year
later, in July or August of 2013, the Primms removed the gate
and placed it on the side of the road approximately 1/4 mile
east of its previous location, prompting appellee to initiate
August 29, 2013, appellee filed a complaint against
appellants, alleging that the road was located entirely
within the boundaries of its property, that appellants had
removed a gate appellee had installed on the road, and that
appellants may claim some interest in property owned by
appellee. Appellee asked the court to quiet title in it to
its legally described property, including the road, and to
enjoin appellants from entering its property other than for
access to Ms. Williams's property near the sign
indicating the end of public road maintenance.
responded, claiming that Ms. Williams had acquired a
prescriptive easement over the road for ingress and egress to
her property; that she had adversely possessed property north
of a wire fence that runs parallel to the road; and that a
boundary by acquiescence existed on appellee's property.
Appellants then filed an amended counterclaim, clarifying
that they had established a prescriptive easement in the road
and claiming that the public had also established a public
easement in the road due to county maintenance of the road
and public passage over the road for more than fifty years.
August 25, 2015, after a hearing, the court entered an order
quieting title to all lands located in the Northwest Quarter
of Section 27, Township 16 South, Range 12 West in appellee,
subject to the public's right to use a certain portion of
the road ending at a sign erected by Bradley County marking
the end of public maintenance. The court permanently enjoined
appellants from entering appellee's land except for the
portion of the road maintained by Bradley County. Finally,
the court specifically found that the boundary line between
the parties was as set forth on both surveys. Appellants
filed this appeal.
review quiet-title and boundary-line actions de novo, but we
will not reverse findings of fact unless they are clearly
erroneous. Lafferty v. Everett, 2014 Ark.App. 332,
at 3, 436 S.W.3d 479, 481. In reviewing a trial court's
findings of fact, the appellate courts give due deference to
the trial court's superior position to determine witness
credibility and the weight to be accorded their testimony.
Steele v. Blankenship, 2010 Ark.App. 86, at 10, 377
S.W.3d 293, 298.
first to appellants' argument regarding a prescriptive
easement. They contend that the circuit court clearly erred
in refusing to find either a public or private easement. In
Arkansas, one asserting an easement by prescription must show
by a preponderance of the evidence that one's use has
been adverse to the true owner and under a claim of right for
the statutory period-that is, seven ...