GERMANY (PATRICIA) VS. CHANDLER (G. W.), ET AL.Annotate this Case
RENDERED: OCTOBER 3, 2008; 10:00 A.M.
NOT TO BE PUBLISHED
Commonwealth of Kentucky
Court of Appeals
APPEALS FROM BULLITT CIRCUIT COURT
HONORABLE RODNEY BURRESS, JUDGE
ACTION NO. 06-CI-00181
G. W. CHANDLER AND
** ** ** ** **
BEFORE: LAMBERT, STUMBO, AND THOMPSON, JUDGES.
LAMBERT, JUDGE: Patricia Germany appeals from a directed verdict in favor of
G.W. Chandler and Tia Watkins,1 finding that Patricia failed to establish the
Tia Watkins is the illegitimate daughter of Patricia’s now deceased brother. Tia intervened in
the action to assert her 1/6 property right, which Chandler had mistakenly purchased from
Lucille Germany, Judge Germany’s ex-wife, who had wrongfully inherited her deceased son’s
1/6 interest through intestacy. Upon the discovery of Tia’s existence and interest in the property,
Chandler amended his complaint to include Tia.
elements of adverse possession. Patricia also appeals from the grant of Chandler’s
motion for judicial sale. After careful review, we affirm the order of the Bullitt
Judge Germany, Patricia’s father, died intestate in 1990. Patricia and
three of her siblings, as administrators of her father’s estate, entered an informal
final settlement with the Jefferson Circuit Court in 1992. The settlement listed the
disputed property in Bullitt County among the inventory specifically divided in the
informal final settlement. The settlement shows that Patricia and each of her five
brothers and sisters received a 1/6 interest in their father’s estate at the close of
In August 2005 Chandler sought out and acquired 5/6 of the property
in dispute.2 Patricia was the only one unwilling to sell to Chandler. When it
became clear that she was completely unwilling to sell, Chandler filed a complaint
in the Bullitt County Circuit Court against Patricia, seeking Commissioner’s sale
of the property. Patricia answered by claiming adverse possession of the property.
After a bench trial on July 27, 2007, the court granted the motion for directed
verdict in favor of Chandler and Watkins, finding that Patricia could not show that
her claim to the disputed property was continuous for the requisite fifteen years to
establish adverse possession nor was it open and notorious. The court also ordered
the judicial sale of the property, since there was no formal motion for partition of
More accurately, he rightfully purchased 4/6 of the property since the 1/6 interest Lucille
Germany sold him was not rightfully hers to sell but Tia’s.
the property. Patricia entered a motion for a new trial, which was denied. She now
On a motion for directed verdict, the trial judge
must draw all fair and reasonable inferences from the
evidence in favor of the party opposing the motion.
When engaging in appellate review of a ruling on a
motion for directed verdict, the reviewing court must
ascribe to the evidence all reasonable inferences and
deductions which support the claim of the prevailing
party. Meyers v. Chapman Printing Co., Inc ., 840
S.W.2d 814 (Ky. 1992). Once the issue is squarely
presented to the trial judge, who heard and considered the
evidence, a reviewing court cannot substitute its
judgment for that of the trial judge unless the trial judge
is clearly erroneous. Davis v. Graviss, 672 S.W.2d 928
Bierman v. Klapheke, 967 S.W.2d 16, 18 (Ky. 1998).
After reviewing the record thoroughly, we find that the trial court
properly drew all reasonable and fair inferences in favor of Patricia, but the
settlement agreement signed by Patricia in 1992 defeats her claim for adverse
possession as a matter of law. Patricia, as the trial court correctly stated in its
order, “recognized [in 1992] the one-sixth interests in the property held by each of
her brothers and sisters. Therefore, the date to start the clock for [her] adverse
possession claim would have to be, at the earliest, May 13, 1992, the day after she
signed the Informal Final Settlement.” Chandler filed suit in this matter on
February 10, 2006, thus only thirteen years and nine months had passed between
Patricia’s written recognition of her siblings’ interests and this complaint. As a
matter of law, a claim for adverse possession may only ripen after fifteen years of
hostile possession. See, e.g., Tartar v. Tucker, 280 S.W.2d 150, 152 (Ky. 1955);
Phillips v. Akers, 103 S.W.3d 705, 708 (Ky.App. 2002). Therefore, the trial court
properly granted the directed verdict.
As to Patricia’s claim that the trial court erred in granting the judicial
sale of the property, it was within the sound discretion of the trial judge to order
the sale and subsequently to confirm the sale of the disputed property, particularly
in light of Patricia’s failure to move for partition at trial. Moreover, there is no
evidence in the record to support Patricia’s claims of fraud or any evidence of
activity that would shock the conscience with regard to the judicial sale, and
inadequacy of price alone is insufficient to void a sale. See Maynard v. Maynard,
167 S.W.2d 853 (Ky. 1943).
Accordingly, we affirm the order granting the motion for directed
verdict and further affirm the order confirming the judicial sale of the property.
BRIEF FOR APPELLANT:
Terrence L. McCoy
BRIEF FOR APPELLEES
G. W. CHANDLER AND TIA
John W. Wooldridge
Frederick B. Kieckhefer