Spiller v. Mackereth

334 So. 2d 859 (Ala. 1976)

 

RULE:

The essence of the finding of an ouster in adverse possession cases is a claim of absolute ownership and a denial of the co-tenancy relationship by the occupying co-tenant.

FACTS:

A man purchased a half interest in a lot with co-tenants. At the time he bought the interest, the lot was being rented by a business. He then offered to purchase one of the co-tenant’s interest in the property but after the co-tenant refused, he sought a sale for division. The renter eventually vacated the building and the the man began to use the entire building as a warehouse. The co-tenant’s attorney sent a letter demanding that the man either vacate the building or pay half the rent. The co-tenant then brought a counter-claim to collect the rental she claimed complainant owed her. The trial judge held that the man had ousted the co-tenant and awarded attorneys fees and a rental award. The case was appealed to the Supreme Court of Alabama.

ISSUE:

Was the co-tenant ousted?

ANSWER:

No.

CONCLUSION:

The Court reversed the determination that complainant ousted the co-tenant finding no evidence that he prevented the co-tenant from entering the building. The court, however, affirmed the award of attorney's fees. Case was remanded.

Click here to view the full text case and earn your Daily Research Points.