Adverse Possession Not Established On Range Land.

At issue in this case was a disputed 527-acre tract in north Texas along the Oklahoma border.  the plaintiffs bought the property in 1951 and used it for cattle grazing and hunting.  The plaintiffs paid taxes on the property and claimed that they never saw cattle of other people on the property.  The defendant's predecessor in interest owned the Oklahoma land just to the north of the property across the river, and claimed to have run cattle on the property several months annually from the 1960s through the 1980s.  The property apparently changed hands several times in the 1990s culminating with the defendant receiving title to the tract in 2004.  The defendant claimed that he built new fences, cleared timber and brush and used the property for hunting.  The plaintiff filed an action in 2007 to determine title ownership and also claiming that the defendant was trespassing.  The defendant claimed ownership via adverse possession, and the trial court agreed.  On appeal, the court reversed on the basis that the defendant failed to establish visible appropriation and possession as well as consistent and continuous use.  The court noted that the property had already been fenced and cattle grazing was being used to establish adverse possession.  In such situations, substantial modification of the existing fence or the erection of a new fence must be present.  Wells v. Johnson, No. 07-12-00378-CV, 2014 Tex. App. LEXIS 9704 (Tex. Ct. App. Aug. 28, 2014).

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