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Frazier v. Donovan

Court of Appeals of Texas, Twelfth District, Tyler

January 15, 2014

NEAL FRAZIER, JR., APPELLANT
v.
RICHARD DONOVAN, APPELLEE

Released for Publication February 20, 2014.

Page 464

Appeal from the 159th District Court of Angelina County, Texas (Tr.Ct.No. CV-01477-12-06). Gerald A. Goodwin.

For Appellant: Timothy David Craig.

For Appellee: Clayton E. Dark Jr.

Panel consisted of Worthen, C.J., Griffith, J., and Hoyle, J.

OPINION

JAMES T. WORTHEN, JUDGE

Page 465

Neal Frazier, Jr. filed suit to establish title by limitations to a tract of real property in Zavalla, Angelina County, Texas. In seven issues, he appeals the trial court's order granting summary judgment in favor of the record title holder and appellee, Richard Donovan. We reverse and remand.

Background

In late 1934 or early 1935, the home of Mary Frazier and her husband, Harrison, was destroyed by a fire. In February 1935, Mary's parents conveyed to her the land on which Mary and Harrison's home once stood (the Frazier tract). Mary and Harrison built a new home for themselves and their thirteen children across the road from their previous home site.

In February 1936, Mary's parents conveyed a tract of their land to Mary's sister, Eddie Barnett, and her husband, Eugene (the Barnett tract). Eddie and Eugene had five sons.

Both couples died intestate. Following Mary's death in 1981, her daughter, Dessor, moved into Mary's house. Dessor's nephew, Neal, lived in the house with her and assisted her in raising cattle on the surrounding tract of land.[1] They also maintained the fences that enclosed the tract.

In 1997, Dessor moved out of the house due to her declining health. Neal continued to reside in the house and use the property until 2011. In February 2011, Donovan purchased both the Frazier and the Barnett tracts, at which point a survey revealed that the Frazier house, in which Neal resided, was located on the Barnett tract. This fact notwithstanding, Donovan closed the purchase of both the Barnett and Frazier tracts without Neal's signing either deed. ...


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