the 74th District Court McLennan County, Texas Trial Court
Chief Justice Gray, Justice Davis, and Justice Scoggins
GRAY CHIEF JUSTICE
Weber sued Jay and Lindsey Parker claiming
ownership by adverse possession of 20.62 acres to which the
Parkers were record owners. After a bench trial, the trial
court awarded Weber title to the 20 acres pursuant to the 10-
and 25-year statutory limitations provisions for adverse
possession. See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann.
§§ 16.026; 16.027 (West 2002). Because there is no
evidence to support Weber's claim of adverse possession,
the trial court's judgment is reversed, and judgment is
rendered that Weber take nothing.
2014, Jay and Lindsey Parker (collectively referred to as
"Parker") purchased 102 acres from Dick Taylor. At
the same time, Taylor separately sold the 20 acres at issue
to Parker. A fence separated the 20 acres from the 102 acres.
Weber owned 560.9 acres on the north, east, and west sides of
the 20 acres. In 2015, Weber sued Parker after a clash
between the parties occurred regarding Parker placing a
ladder over the fence to access the 20 acres from the 102
acres and Parker's actions in clearing that fence line.
of the Evidence
trial court issued findings of fact and conclusions of law in
support of its judgment. In nine issues on appeal, the
Parkers assert there is no evidence or insufficient evidence
to support the trial court's relevant findings and
of fact entered in a case tried to the court have the same
force and dignity as a jury verdict. Anderson v. City of
Seven Points, 806 S.W.2d 791, 794 (Tex. 1991). Thus, we
review findings of fact by the same standards that are
applied in reviewing the legal and factual sufficiency of the
evidence supporting a jury's answer to a jury question.
Id. We review the trial court's conclusions of
law de novo; that is, we review the trial court's legal
conclusions drawn from the facts to determine their
correctness. See BMC Software Belgium, N.V. v.
Marchand, 83 S.W.3d 789, 794 (Tex. 2002).
both legal and factual sufficiency challenges are raised on
appeal, the reviewing court must first examine the legal
sufficiency of the evidence. See Glover v. Tex. Gen.
Indemnity Co., 619 S.W.2d 400, 401 (Tex. 1981);
Wells v. Johnson, 443 S.W.3d 479, 492-493 (Tex.
App.-Amarillo 2014, pet. denied). When reviewing a legal
sufficiency challenge, we must consider the evidence
favorable to the finding if a reasonable factfinder could and
disregard evidence contrary to the finding unless a
reasonable factfinder could not. Cent. Ready Mix Concrete
Co. v. Islas, 228 S.W.3d 649, 651 (Tex. 2007); City
of Keller v. Wilson, 168 S.W.3d 802, 807, 827 (Tex.
2005). Anything more than a scintilla of evidence is legally
sufficient to support the finding. Cont'l Coffee
Prods. Co. v. Cazarez, 937 S.W.2d 444, 450 (Tex. 1996);
Leitch v. Hornsby, 935 S.W.2d 114, 118 (Tex. 1996).
When the evidence offered to prove a vital fact is so weak as
to do no more than create a mere surmise or suspicion of its
existence, the evidence is no more than a scintilla and, in
legal effect, is no evidence. Kindred v. Con/Chem,
Inc., 650 S.W.2d 61, 63 (Tex. 1983).
reviewing a factual sufficiency challenge, we must consider,
examine, and weigh the entire record, considering both the
evidence in favor of, and contrary to, the challenged
findings. Maritime Overseas Corp. v. Ellis, 971
S.W.2d 402, 406-07 (Tex. 1998). In doing so, we consider and
weigh all the evidence and set aside the disputed finding
only if it is so contrary to the great weight and
preponderance of the evidence as to be clearly wrong and
manifestly unjust. Id. at 407.
doctrine of adverse possession is based on statutes of
limitation (three, five, ten, or twenty-five years depending
on various statutory factors and conditions) for the recovery
of real property. See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem.
Code Ann. §§ 16.021-.037 (West 2002); see Wells
v. Johnson, 443 S.W.3d 479, 488 (Tex. App.-Amarillo
2014, pet. ref'd). It allows a person to claim title to
real property presently titled in another and ultimately
vests title to the property with the adverse claimant.
See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann §
16.030(a) (West 2002); Session v. Woods, 206 S.W.3d
772, 777 (Tex. App.-Texarkana 2006, pet. denied).
possession is defined as "an actual and visible
appropriation of real property, commenced and continued under
a claim of right that is inconsistent with and is
hostile to the claim of another person"
throughout the statutory period. Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem.
Code Ann. § 16.021(1) (West 2002) (emphasis added).
See Minh Thu Tran v. Macha, 213 S.W.3d 913, 914
(Tex. 2006); Moore v. Stone, 255 S.W.3d 284, 288
(Tex. App.-Waco 2008, pet. denied). Exclusive possession of
the land is required to support an adverse possession claim;
thus, the claimant must wholly exclude the owner from the
property. Harlow v. Giles, 132 S.W.3d 641, 646-47
(Tex. App.-Eastland 2004, pet. denied). Possession must be
actual, visible, continuous, notorious, distinct, hostile,
and of such character as to indicate unmistakably an
assertion of a claim of exclusive ownership in the occupant.
Id. Due to the harsh nature of divesting a property
owner of title otherwise rightfully held, the statutory
prerequisites must be strictly complied with. Wells,
443 S.W.3d at 488; see also Tran, 213 S.W.3d at 915.
Thus, one seeking to establish title to land by virtue of the
statute of limitations ...