John E. CRUM and Jane Crum, Appellants
Richard Paul SIEMS and Dorothy Siems, Appellees
FROM THE ARKANSAS COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, NORTHERN DISTRICT
[NO. 01DCV-14-114], HONORABLE DAVID G. HENRY, JUDGE
& Taylor Law Firm, P.A., Little Rock, by: Andrew M. Taylor
and Tasha C. Taylor, for appellants.
Law, PLLC, by: R. Scott Morgan Pine Bluff, and Micah L.
Goodwin, Little Rock, for appellees.
Appellants John Crum and his wife, Jane, appeal from the
Arkansas County Circuit Court’s order resolving a land
dispute between the Crums and appellees Dorothy Siems and her
son Richard Siems. The Crums and the Siemses own adjacent
land; the Crums’ eastern boundary and the Siemses’ western
boundary were in dispute. After the Crums installed an
irrigation system that the Siemses thought encroached on
their land, the Siemses filed a complaint seeking to enjoin
the Crums from trespassing on their land; for quiet title;
for restoration of the land to its proper state; for judgment
compensating the Siemses for the loss of the use of their
property; for the costs of surveying the property and
relocating survey markers; and for civil and punitive
damages. The Crums answered and counterclaimed, asserting
that the line between their properties had been established
by acquiescence or agreement, or alternatively by adverse
possession. After a bench trial, the circuit court ruled in
favor of the Siemses and denied all claims of boundary by
acquiescence, boundary by agreement, and adverse possession.
For the following reasons, we affirm.
Crums filed a timely notice of appeal, raising the following
points: (1) the circuit court erred in not finding that the
line of trees and the eastern edge of the turn-row
established a boundary by acquiescence, and (2) the circuit
court erred in its alternative finding that the Crums did not
acquire title to the property through adverse possession.
Boundary-line cases are reviewed de novo. Durham v.
McCone, 2018 Ark.App. 392, at 3, 555 S.W.3d 907, 909.
However, our court will not reverse findings of fact unless
they are clearly erroneous. Id. A finding of fact is
clearly erroneous when, although there is evidence to support
it, we are left with the definite and firm conviction that a
mistake has been committed. Id. Because the location
of a boundary is a disputed question of fact, we will affirm
the circuit court’s finding unless it is clearly against the
preponderance of the evidence. Id. In reviewing a
circuit court’s findings of fact, we give due deference to
the circuit court’s superior position to determine the
credibility of the witnesses and the weight to be accorded
their testimony. Id.
these standards, we examine the facts presented to the
circuit court. The parties have disputed this property line
since 1974, but the first notable argument occurred in 1981
when the Siemses alleged that John Crum was bulldozing a line
of trees between the parties’ properties. The Siemses
explained that they confronted John, and he abstained from
further work along the tree line. John denied that this
confrontation occurred or that he bulldozed the trees at all.
Instead, he testified that there was a meeting in 1981 that
resulted in the parties orally agreeing on a boundary line.
According to John, the parties agreed that the line would be
the tree line as extended to the north and south and that the
agreement was memorialized
by steel posts driven on the north and south ends of the line
by the late Edward Siems and a steel rod driven into the
ground by John on the north end next to the post Edward set.
Siemses deny that there was any agreement in 1981. To support
their position, they introduced a handwritten document by
Edward Siems that memorialized an agreement in October 1988.
This document was not signed by John. John denies that there
was ever an agreement in 1988.
years of conflict, in 2013, the Siemses had Delta Survey
Company perform a survey of the property line. The surveyor
did not find the posts that John testified were placed by
Edward Siems in 1981 to evidence the agreement; nor did he
find the steel rod John allegedly placed. However, after
having been asked by John to return, and with a ...