Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Hodge v. Wright

Court of Appeals of Oklahoma, Division I

January 16, 2019

YVONNE HODGE in her personal capacity and in her capacity as the Personal Representative for the Estate of LEROY HODGE, PB-2002-8, Plaintiff/Counter-Defendant/Appellant,
v.
SALLY WRIGHT, Defendant/Counter-Claimant/Appellee, and THE UNKNOWN HEIRS, EXECUTORS, ADMINISTRATORS, TRUSTEES and ASSIGNS, immediate and remote of MARY RONEY, Deceased; MARGARET BELL LIVELY, WILLIAM F. LIVELY, EARL LIVELY, ED LIVELY, LOLA AMELIA HAZEL MATHIAS, LALA ROBERTA PEDERSEN, DARREL MELVIN PEDERSEN, EARL MATHIAS, OAKIE C. WELLS, FRANCIS NELSON WELLS, FRANCIS J. WELLS, MARY BLANCHE WELLS, HAZEL LOUISE CAMPBELL, a/k/a HAZEL LOUISE SEIFERT, MASON A. CAMPBELL, RONALD SEIFERT, UILA WELLS, HONORA MONTANA, EUGENE PAUL PATRICK YOUNG, JOHN FRANCIS YOUNG, MIRANDA JANE BARTLETT, a/k/a JANE BARTLEY, a/k/a JANE BARTLETT, HERBERT L. BARTLETT, ANNA MAUD BARTLETT, JO AUMAN, LLOYD C. BARTLETT, GALEN LLOYD BARTLETT, EDNA HEITMOR, BONNIE DALE BARTLETT, GEORGE STRITZEL, AXIE PIPER, a/k/a AXIE PIFFER, RALPH W. PIPER, SAMUEL PARSONS JONES, KATHERINE E. DeLAND, a/k/a KITTIE DeLAND, CHARLES DeLAND, LILLIE G. DeLAND, ALBERT WHITE, ELLIOTT DeLAND, ELLA C. DeLAND, HAROLD BLAINE LOGAN, MANNING DOCK HANKINS, JOHN EDWARD LOGAN, LILLIAN OAK JONES, WILLIAM CLARK WEDDELL, LOTA AXIE WEDDLE, a/k/a LOTA COURAGE, DUNCAN COURAGE, O.A. KISTLER, CLINTON C. WEDDLE, AUDREY ELIZABETH WEDDLE, a/k/a AUDREY ELIZABETH SPARLING, JOHN RAYMOND SPARLING, VICTOR SEWELL SPARLING, HERMAN CARL WILDERMAN, STANLEY B. ALLPER, TERRYL ELIZABETH JATON, CAPITOLA BREDE, ELMER A. BREDE, DWAYNE CLARK BREDE, AUDREY LARUE McCABE, LOUISE EUGENE McCABE, MARY GRACE HENDERSON, GEORGE ROBERT HENDERSON, HENRY JACKSON HAGEY, DAISY ORPHA HENDERSON, a/k/a DAISY ORPHA NORRIS, WILLIAM NORRIS, MARY ALICE NORRIS, a/k/a MARY ALICE GIBBONS, FRANK L. GIBBONS, GEORGIA NORRIS, JOSEPH NORRIS, VERA ELIZABETH SMITH, a/k/a VERA ELIZABETH NORRIS, NANCY JANE FARMER, FRANK GIBBONS, MARY FREEMAN, OSCAR L. HENDERSON, a/k/a OSCAR L. HAGEY, KATHERINE HENDERSON, VIRGIL A. TUCKER, NE ROMA JANE TUCKER, THELMA RUTH FARMER, RALPH EDWIN FARMER, ADITH COLLEEN DANIEL, WAYNE D. DANIEL, WILLIAM JAMES FARMER, CLARK R. FARMER, DAVID RALPH FARMER, ALLEN K. FARMER, KRISTI S. PEDERSEN, ALLEN WINTERS, LOLA H. PEDERSEN, LOU PEDERSEN, CHARLES MATHIAS, CLARENCE LIVELY, MASON WALTER CAMPBELL, SR., WILLIAM JACKSON CLARK, MARCIA YOUNG, CATHERINE YOUNG, DOROTHY ISGRIGG, MARGARET BARLETT, JERRY OWENS, ALVIRA OWENS, THEREAS OWENS, VALERIA OWENS, MOLLY STRITZEL, JEAU ANNE STRITZEL, ROBERT STRITZEL, JUDY BERGE, CHARLES WRIGHT, CHRISTY ALLYCE WRIGHT, DAVID M. WRIGHT, MARGARET ANNE BARTLETT, JACK C. BAILES, SR., CLIFFORD W. SORVIRS, JACK C. BAILES, JR., JENNIE GOLDEN, MARY JANE BARLETT, a/k/a MARY JANE STERELY, LAURIE L. STERELY, LESTER L. STERELY, LESLIE L. STERELY, LARRY L. STERELY, EULGENE LLOETTA HOARD, ROXANNE DYER, SHANNON SPARLING, WAYNE JATON, TRUEL KEHL, GREGORY A. KEHL, ROBERT D. ROSENLUND, GREGORY STEVEN DAVIS, STEPHEN SPARLING, RAYMOND SPARLING, TERI L. LAWRENCE, HARRIET SPARLING ARNOLD, HEIDE SPARLING ARNOLD, DANIEL TIMOTHY ARNOLD, DONNA FRITZ, JANET ARMSTONG, WILLIAM J. ARMSTRONG, MARILYN LOUISE SHEEHAN, CAROL ANN HODGES, CONSTANCE JEAN SALYER, STEPHEN RICHARD McCABE, DONNA AUDREY GERREN, GREGORY MICHAEL McCABE, MARILYN LOUISE TAYLOR, DEBBIE HULOWITZ, WILLIAM FARMER, MARIAN JANE TAYLOR FARMER, ERIC CLARK FARMER, ANGIE LORRAINE CHAMPANY, MARGARET JANNETT HILL, a/k/a MARGARET JANNETT HILL, AUDREY KEDSLEY, a/k/a AUDREY FARMER, CARRIE FARMER, CLINTON FARMER, DAVID FARMER, JEFF FARMER, DOROTHY NORRIS, JAMES WILLIAM GIBBONS, ERMANILL C. NUNES, a/k/a ERMANILL C. GIBBONS, JENNIE HENDERSON, NOLE MAE TUCKER, LILLIAN TUCKER, VIRGINIA TUCKER, CRAIG D. DANIEL, KRISTI PEARL CHILDERS, GLORIA SPRALING, DONNA FRITZ, DANIEL LEWIS FRITZ, MARK FRITZ, and LINDA SUSAN McCABE, if living otherwise the Unknown Heirs, Executors, Administrators, Trustees, Assigns and Successors, Immediate and Remote, of the said individuals, and The Unknown Heirs, Executors, Administrators, Trustees and Assigns, Immediate and Remote of SYLVESTER REIMER, Deceased, SYLVIA BRALEY, LAURA VENTERS; ROBERT HALL, MICHAEL HALL; CHRISTOPHER HALL; if living otherwise the Unknown Heirs, Executors, Administrators, Trustees, Assigns and Successors, Immediate and Remote, of said individuals, GEORGE BOARDMAN, ALTON C. LAMB, Jr., RUTH C. LAMB, ROBERT CAVITT, WANDA MAE PRICE HENN, BUELAH ALICE SMITH ROWLEY, WILLARD W. McINTYRE, KATHLEEN YORK, THELMA McINTYRE, MAX L. McINTYRE, HERMAN T. McINTYRE, VIRGIL S. McINTYRE, MARTIN S. McINTYRE, EDWARDS GRENS, and EVA IDELL CASH, Defendants if living, otherwise the Unknown Heirs, Executors, Administrators, Trustees and Assigns, Immediate and Remote of said Defendants, if deceased, and THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA, ex rel. OKLAHOMA TAX COMMISSION, Defendants.

          Mandate Issued: 02/13/2019

          APPEAL FROM THE DISTRICT COURT OF NOBLE COUNTY, OKLAHOMA HONORABLE NIKKI G. LEACH, JUDGE

          Harlan Hentges, Edmond, Oklahoma, for Plaintiff/Appellant,

          Sally Stewart, Cristyn Lane, Roswell, New Mexico, Pro Se.

          KENNETH L. BUETTNER, JUDGE

         ¶1 Plaintiff/Counter-Defendant/Appellant Yvonne Hodge appeals a judgment entered following a bench trial in Hodge's claim for title by adverse possession. The trial court denied Hodge's claim based on its finding she had not shown an ouster of her co-tenants, though no one having an interest in the property appeared to counter Hodge's proof. The trial court concluded that Hodge's only remedy was through a partition proceeding. The trial court also denied Defendant/Counter-Claimant/Appellee Sally Stewart's claim, finding she did not prove an interest in the property. Stewart has not filed a petition in error appealing the judgment against her and that part of the judgment is final. We reverse the trial court's finding that Hodge had not shown an ouster of her co-tenants and therefore could not have gained title by adverse possession. Hodge and her predecessors paid taxes, fenced, used, and maintained the property to the exclusion of all others for more than fifteen years. The clear weight of the evidence showed Hodge had proved title by adverse possession.

         ¶2 In her 2014 Petition, Hodge sought to quiet title to a described quarter section in Noble County. [1] Hodge asserted she owned the property in her personal capacity and as the personal representative of the estate of her husband, Leroy Hodge. Hodge alleged that Mary Roney had owned title to the property at the time of her death in 1935 and that her son Charles Roney possessed the property until his death in 1980. Hodge asserted that when Mary Roney's estate was probated in 1956, her heirs were unknown except for Charles Roney. Hodge asserted that from 1971, Hodge's father-in-law Glen Hodge leased the property from Charles Roney. Hodge further alleged that Charles Roney's estate was distributed to his Wife and her estate was then distributed to her two brothers, Ruben Reimer and Sylvester Reimer, in 1982. Hodge alleged that Sylvester died in 1982 and his estate was not probated in Oklahoma. Hodge alleged that from 1980 until 1993 Glen Hodge and then his son Leroy Hodge leased the property from representatives of the Estate of Charles Roney, his heirs, or the estates of his heirs.

         ¶3 Hodge further averred that Ruben Reimer's share was distributed to his two children in 1993 and Leroy Hodge then purchased their interests. Hodge asserted she and Leroy Hodge had occupied the property without paying rent or other consideration to any party since 1993 and that in that time they paid the taxes, made improvements such as building fences and ponds, and cleared trees. Hodge asserted she continued the possession after Leroy's 1999 death. Hodge asserted she had obtained title to the property by adverse possession. Hodge asserted one group of Defendants were the unknown heirs of Sylvester Reimer, who received a 1/8th interest in the surface in the July 1982 final distribution of the estate of Charles Roney's wife. Hodge asserted the remaining Defendants were the heirs of the seven half siblings of Charles Roney. Hodge asserted Charles Roney held the property adversely to the interests of the half siblings from the 1935 death of Mary Roney until Charles's death in 1980.

         ¶4 In her Amended Petition, Hodge named as Defendants all potential heirs of Mary Roney's children that Hodge had discovered and asserted she had made publication notice for heirs she could not identify or locate. Hodge repeated the allegations made in her Petition and alleged she and her predecessor, Leroy Hodge, had satisfied the requirements of adverse possession for more than fifteen years.

         ¶5 The record shows Stewart and Defendant Christy Allyce Lane were served by mail and they filed a letter requesting time to assert an interest in the property "which we understood we would inherit." Stewart answered and denied Hodge's claim to title by adverse possession. Stewart asserted a counterclaim asking the trial court to determine her interest in the property and quiet title to that interest in her. Hodge answered and denied the claims made in Stewart's counterclaim.

         ¶6 The trial court entered a Journal Entry of Judgment August 17, 2016, in which it found twenty Defendants had been served and failed to answer. The trial court entered default judgment in favor of Hodge and against those Defendants. The trial court later granted default judgments against several of the remaining Defendants. [2]

         ¶7 Hodge then filed a motion for summary judgment against Stewart, which the trial court denied. [3] Bench trial was held September 14, 2017. The trial court entered its Journal Entry September 18, 2017, in which it found Stewart had failed to present evidence establishing an interest in the property and denied her counterclaim for quiet title. [4] The court further found that Hodge had not shown she was entitled to adverse possession because she owned legal title to a 1/8 interest and in order to obtain title by adverse possession against co-tenants, she was required to prove an ouster of the co-tenants. The court found that Hodge's remedy was through a partition proceeding.

         ¶8 As noted above, only Hodge appeals. A claim for title by adverse possession is an equitable proceeding and we will affirm the trial court's decision unless it is against the clear weight of the evidence or is contrary to law. Akin v. Castleberry, 2012 OK 79, ¶11, 286 P.3d 638. "To establish adverse possession, the claimant must show that possession was hostile, under a claim of right or color of title, actual, open, notorious, exclusive, and continuous for the statutory period of fifteen years." Id.

         ¶9 The evidence of the elements of adverse possession was undisputed. Hodge improved the property, maintained it, fenced it and locked the gate to the exclusion of all others, paid taxes on it, and used it for cattle for more than fifteen years. The trial court noted, however, that because Hodge had legal title to a 1/8 interest by virtue of a 1993 Warranty Deed from Ruben Riemer's children to Leroy Hodge, the case must be analyzed as one where ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.