WHITE (MARK), ET AL. VS. WILLIAMSON (DENNIE), ET AL.Annotate this Case
RENDERED: NOVEMBER 26, 2008; 10:00 A.M.
NOT TO BE PUBLISHED
Commonwealth of Kentucky
Court of Appeals
MARK WHITE; SUSAN WHITE;
JAMES W. WHITE AND UNKNOWN
SPOUSE; JOHN E. WHITE AND
UNKNOWN SPOUSE; JOYCE WHITE
AND UNKNOWN SPOUSE; THOMAS J.
WHITE AND UNKNOWN SPOUSE;
TIMOTHY P. WHITE AND UNKNOWN
SPOUSE; WALLY WHITE AND
UNKNOWN SPOUSE; AND
PIKE LETCHER LAND COMPANY
APPEAL FROM PIKE CIRCUIT COURT
HONORABLE EDDY COLEMAN, JUDGE
ACTION NO. 03-CI-00719
DENNIE WILLIAMSON; AND
REVERSING AND REMANDING
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BEFORE: COMBS, CHIEF JUDGE; NICKELL, JUDGE; GRAVES,1 SENIOR
GRAVES, SENIOR JUDGE: This is an appeal from a boundary determination in
which the trial court quieted title in favor of the appellees. We reverse and remand
for additional findings.
This appeal involves property that is located under the ridgeline of a
mountain where the watersheds of Long Fork and Shelby Creek meet. Long Fork
is located on the right side of the mountain and Shelby Creek is located on the left
side. Specifically, the disputed property is approximately 75 feet wide and 800
feet long and is situated just under the top of the ridge on the Shelby Creek side.
The Williamsons, appellees, brought suit to quiet title to the disputed
property and for damages resulting from the removal of timber. The appellees
traced their title through mesne conveyances to a patent issued in 1859 which is
known as the Mullins survey. The Whites, appellants, traced their title to a
claimed common grantor, Sherwood Osborne, and through a patent known as the
Tackett survey. Experts testified on behalf of both parties. The trial court found
that the disputed property was located within the Mullins survey which bordered
the ridgeline between Shelby Creek and Long Fork. The trial court further found
that the Whites’ title only encompassed property located within the Tackett survey.
The Williamsons presented no evidence of damages for the removed timber and,
therefore, were awarded zero damages. The trial court entered judgment in favor
Senior Judge J. William Graves sitting as Special Judge by assignment of the Chief Justice
pursuant to Section 110(5)(b) of the Kentucky Constitution and KRS 21.580.
of the Williamsons. The Whites made a motion for additional findings and to alter
or amend the judgment on the basis that the trial court ignored evidence of paper
title to the disputed property. This appeal followed.
The Whites argue that the trial court erred by requiring them to
demonstrate proof of title beyond a common grantor. The rule is that title to land
may be shown by proof that the land comes from the Commonwealth, by proof of
title to a common source with the opposing party, or by proof of adverse
possession. Skaggs v. Ohio Valley Rock Asphalt Co., 292 Ky. 758, 166 S.W.2d
1005, 1007 (1942). The trial court found that the Whites’ property was
encompassed by the Tackett survey and that the Tackett survey did not cross the
ridgeline. However, the Whites presented evidence of a separate chain of title on
the Shelby Creek side that dates back to Sherwood Osborne, a common grantor to
both parties. The trial court only determined the location of the boundary line
between the Mullins and Tackett patents. The issue is which party had superior
title to the disputed property. We find that a finding of fact with regard to the
location and validity of the White’s chain of title through Sherwood Osborne is
essential to the judgment. Kentucky Rules of Civil Procedure (CR) 52.04.
Therefore, we reverse and remand for further proceedings consistent
with this opinion.
BRIEF FOR APPELLANTS:
BRIEF FOR APPELLEES:
Lawrence R. Webster
Tammy C. Skeens