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Segrest v. Starnes

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

April 8, 2014

ROBERT PHILIP SEGREST, APPELLANT
v.
DENNIS WAYNE STARNES AND TIMOTHY AUSTIN STARNES, APPELLEES

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: CLAIBORNE COUNTY CHANCERY COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 07/26/2012. TRIAL JUDGE: HON.E. VINCENT DAVIS. TRIAL COURT DISMISSED APPELLANT'S REAL-PROPERTY CLAIMS.

DISPOSITION: AFFIRMED.

FOR APPELLANT: LUCIEN C. GWIN JR.

FOR APPELLEES: WAYNE SMITH, ROBERT BINNION ANDREWS.

BEFORE GRIFFIS, P.J., ISHEE AND CARLTON, JJ. LEE, C.J., IRVING AND GRIFFIS, P.JJ., BARNES, ROBERTS, CARLTON, MAXWELL, FAIR AND JAMES, JJ., CONCUR.

OPINION

Page 629

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - REAL PROPERTY

ISHEE, J.

¶1. This case arises from a land dispute in Claiborne County, Mississippi, involving three parties: Robert Philip Segrest, Dennis Wayne Starnes, and Timothy Austin Starnes (the Starnes brothers). In 2009, Segrest filed a complaint against the Starnes brothers in the Claiborne County Chancery Court, claiming title to certain land and adverse possession. In response, the Starnes brothers filed an answer and counter-complaint alleging ownership of the land. After a trial on the merits, the chancery court found that the Starnes brothers owned the disputed land and dismissed Segrest's claim. Aggrieved, Segrest appeals. Finding no error, we affirm.

Page 630

STATEMENT OF FACTS

¶2. In 2006, Wayne Starnes hired Grady Anderson, a local surveyor, to partition land among his five sons, including Dennis and Timothy. Dennis and Timothy were each given 116 acres, which included portions of the land in controversy in this case. Upon partition, a discrepancy arose between Segrest and the Starnes brothers as to the ownership of the disputed land. The land in question consists of 75.94 acres located in the southeast quadrant of Section 19, east of Brandywine Creek (also known as " Little Bayou Pierre" ), and the south half of Section 20.

¶3. On November 2, 2009, Segrest filed a complaint alleging ownership of 18 acres in Section 19 and the total acreage of Section 20. Segrest claimed that his title to the property dated back more than sixty years. Segrest declared that, on April 25, 1975, he received fee-simple title to the disputed land by partition deed from Oren P. Segrest. A plat of the Segrest property, created by R.D. Wade Jr., was attached to the deed. Segrest also claimed title to the disputed land by adverse possession.

¶4. The Starnes brothers counterclaimed alleging ownership of the entire 75.94 acres. They declared that their title to the property also dated back more than sixty years. The Starnes brothers claimed to be record title holders to this property through deeds gifted to them by their father on December 29, 2006. The Starnes brothers claimed, based on the survey made by Anderson and the concept of bounding, that the description of the property in their deeds included the entire 75.94 acres.

¶5. A trial was held over four days. Segrest claimed title to 20 acres of the disputed land in the southern portion of Section 19. He admitted that he did not have a deed that conveyed this portion of the land. Rather, he relied on a description in a deed from the Starnes family's chain of title that excluded 20 acres previously conveyed to D.T. Segrest. While Segrest originally claimed title to all of the disputed land in the southern portion of Section 20, he only claimed title to 16.44 acres at trial. He contended that title to this property dates back to a deed from 1854 in his chain ...


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