Login

Login

To access this feature, please Log In or Register for your Casebriefs Account.

Add to Library

Add

Search

Login
Register

Fulkerson v. Van Buren

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Plaintiff had legal title to a parcel of land, which contained a church, Defendant. The church members began to renovate the church. Plaintiff brought suit claiming that the land where the church was located belonged to him. The trial court found for Defendant.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    A person must prove that he or she had the clear, distinct, and unequivocal intent to posses property in an adverse manner, for the statutory period, to obtain title by adverse possession, under Arkansas law.

    Facts.

    Plaintiff, Floyd H. Fulkerson, received legal title to a parcel of land in Arkansas, which contained a church. Subsequently, Defendant, Progressive Church, Inc., began to use the church building, and Reverend Van Buren and other church members started to clean up the parcel of land were the church was located. Van Buren and the church members replaced the windows, roof, and floor of the church building, built a forty-foot building and a new office, and implemented a new air and heat unit. Plaintiff asked Defendant to leave the premises, however, DEfndant refused. Thereafter, Plaintiff brought suit. Defendant filed a counterclaim alleging that it obtained title to the land by adverse possession. During trial, Van Buren testified that he would not have improved the land if he did not have title to the land. Also, Van Buren claimed to be aware that the church did not contain a deed for the land in 1990-1991, and because the church bought the land, the church had permission to possess it. Later, Plaintiff told Defendant that Plaintiff had valid title to the land, and Defendant accepted it because Defendant did not intend to hold the title adverse to Plaintiff. The trial court found that Defendant obtained titled by adverse possession. Plaintiff appealed. 

    Issue.

    Whether, under Arkansas law, a person, who does not prove that he or she had the express clear, distinct, and unequivocal intent to possess property in an adverse manner to the true owner,  for the length required by statute, may take title by adverse possession.

    Held.

    No, under Arkansas law, a person, who does not prove that he or she had the express clear, distinct, and unequivocal intent to possess property in an adverse manner to the true owner,  for the length required by statute, may take title by adverse possession.

    Dissent.

    Trial courts ruling was not clearly erroneous because Defendant provided sufficient evidence that Defendant possessed the land in a hostile manner by making renovations to the land, refusing to comply with Plaintiff’s demand to leave the premises, and refusing to compromise with Plaintiff.

    Discussion.

    Under Arkansas law, a person, who does not prove that he or she had the express clear, distinct, and unequivocal intent to possess property in an adverse manner to the true owner, for the length required by statute, may take title by adverse possession. Further, the possession of the land by the adverse possessor must be hostile and in conflict with the true owner. In this case, Defendant failed to show that the possession of the land was hostile and in conflict with Plaintiff as he expressly testified he did not intent to hold title adverse to Plaintiff, until Plaintiff demanded that Defendant vacate. Therefore, the trial court erred in finding that Defendant obtained titled by adverse possession.


    Create New Group

      Casebriefs is concerned with your security, please complete the following