January 21, 2008

The law of adverse possession and related legal doctrines are thoroughly examined in this court opinion

ROGER BALL and CARROL E. ROSE, LLC., v. BRUCE MCDOWELL, Individually and as Next Friend for D.B., C.B., B.B., Children under the age of Eighteen (18) years, PENNY CAYLOR, GARY ESTES, BRYAN KEITH BROCK, WARREN YONTS and PAULINE YONTS and JAMES D. YONTS (Tenn.Ct.App. January 18, 2008).

In this action, plaintiffs ask the Court to declare their easement across defendants' lands be cleared of all encroachments and that defendants be barred from interfering with their use. The Trial Court ruled for plaintiffs. Defendants appeal on the grounds they proved adverse possession of the easement for more than seven years, and plaintiffs are barred from interfering with their use by Tenn. Code Ann. section 28-2-103. We reverse the Trial Court's Judgment.

Opinion may be found at:

"At trial, plaintiffs did not offer any evidence to rebut the testimony regarding the use of the 50 ft. easement. The Trial Court incorrectly applied the law, when it refused to find that Tenn. Code Ann. § 28 - 2 - 103 barred plaintiffs’ cause of action. The Trial Court further erred when it found that there was no adverse possession because “the owner had no actual notice of the claim of adverse possession.” A showing of actual knowledge is not necessary if the possession is so open and notorious that there is an implied presumption of that fact. Kirkman v. Brown, 93 Tenn. 476, 27 S.W. 709, 710 (Tenn.1894). The evidence establishes defendants’ possession was open and notorious. Moreover, plaintiffs offered no testimony as to whether they were aware of the defendants’ activities or not." Id.