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Scott v. Anderson-Tully Co. - 154 So. 3d 910 (Miss. App. 2015)

Rule:

For possession to be adverse, it must be (1) under claim of ownership; (2) actual or hostile; (3) open, notorious, and visible; (4) continuous and uninterrupted for a period of 10 years; (5) exclusive; and (6) peaceful. The claimant must prove each element by clear and convincing evidence. 

Facts:

In 1925, brothers Stewart Scott Jr. and Willie Scott inherited an undivided one-half interest in a 584.6-acre tract of land in Jefferson County, Mississippi. The brothers' respective estates now each own the undivided one-half-interest shares in the property (collectively, "the estate"). Scott, the plaintiff, is the administrator of Stewart Scott Jr.'s estate. Herman Scott (Scott) filed suit seeking damages after Anderson-Tully Company removed timber from a 20-acre parcel of land Scott claimed to own. Scott also sought to quiet and confirm title and to enjoin Anderson-Tully from entering the land. The chancellor dismissed Scott's claim, finding that Anderson-Tully had acquired title to the twenty acres through adverse possession. Scott appealed, arguing that Anderson-Tully presented insufficient evidence to prove a claim of adverse possession, under Miss. Code Ann. § 15-1-13.

Issue:

In Scott's quiet title suit seeking injunctive relief and damages after Anderson-Tully removed timber from a parcel of land Scott claimed to own, did the chancellor err dismissing the suit based on a finding that Anderson-Tully had acquired title through adverse possession?

Answer:

No

Conclusion:

The Court of Appeals of Mississippi found that substantial evidence in the record supported the chancellor's finding that Anderson-Tully Company proved adverse possession by clear and convincing evidence where it openly and notoriously possessed the disputed 20-acre tract from 1969 until Scott's complaint was filed in 2010. The Court also adhered to the court’s finding that Anderson-Tully Company marked its perceived boundary line with blue paint when it purchased the property in 1969 and repainted the boundary line in 1986 and 1998, Anderson-Tully Company managed timber uninterruptedly from 1969 to 2010 and harvested timber in 1990, 1999, and 2010, and no testimony was presented that Scott or anyone else used the disputed property after 1969. The chancellor's judgment was affirmed.

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