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Real Property Click here for the full text of this decision Absent extrinsic fraud, the 1883 judgment settled the dispute, once and for all. Even if not settled by judgment, the King Ranch’s continued dominion over the Rincon, in a manner obviously hostile to the heirs’ claims, establishes adverse possession conclusively. FACTS:Nineteenth century owners of land in Nueces County known as the Rincon conveyed their interest in the proper to Captain Richard Kin, who established the King Ranch in 1853. Later that year, King conveyed a one-half interest to Gideon Lewis. Three years later, in 1856, King conveyed half of his remaining half interest (i.e. a one-fourth interest) to Major William Warren Chapman. When Lewis died later that year, his administrator sold his interest in the Rincon back to King and Chapman jointly for $1,575, for which King gave his individual promissory note. At that point, King and Chapman each owned a one-half undivided interest in the property, although the Lewis deed was not recorded until 1904. When Chapman died, his one-half interest was transferred to his widow, Helen. In 1879, she sued King in trespass to try title, claiming King wrongly evicted her from the property two years earlier. King said he acquired her one-half interest by adverse possession. The court decided in King’s favor in1883, two years after Helen’s death in South Carolina. In 1995, 20 heirs of the Chapmans filed a bill of review against 208 parties with interests in the Rincon. They claimed that a conspiracy between King and Helen’s lawyer to deprive Helen and her heirs of their rightful title. King Ranch, joined by most of the other defendants made a no-evidence motion for summary judgment, claiming: 1. there was no evidence of King’s extrinsic fraud or the Chapman heirs’ freedom from negligence, two elements essential to their bill of review; 2. the action was barred by limitations; 3. the 1883 judgment bound all parties and barred the trespass to try title claim; and 4. King Ranch proved title to the property by adverse possession. The trial court granted the motions. The 13th Court of Appeals reversed on all issues. HOLDING:Reversed and rendered that the heirs take nothing. The court rejects the appellate court’s ruling that there was more than a scintilla of evidence of extrinsic fraud. An 1881 letter from Helen’s lawyer to his parents and the lawyer’s representation of King in 1881 in another matter were not fraud because simultaneous representation of clients was neither unethical nor fraudulent. A fictionalized account in a book of a conversation between the lawyer in King could not be substantiated. And a quote from a King Ranch archivist in 1992 that the lawyer was looking out for “his in-state client versus the interests of his out-of-state client” is the historian’s opinion, and even if true, “says nothing about King’s actions or intent and cannot support an inference that King committed extrinsic fraud.” The court also rejects other so-called evidence of fraud, including the Lewis deed and a letter from King’s lawyer to King, advising him to settle. The court finds the heirs’ trespass to try title action also lacking because in the 1883 action, King Ranch established adverse possession as a matter of law. The court of appeals correctly noted that a co-tenant may not adversely possess against another co-tenant unless it clearly appears he has repudiated the title of his co-tenant and is holding adversely to it; however, a co-tenant can partition the land and effect a repudiation of the co-tenancy by following up the partition with adverse possession. In the 1883 ruling, Helen admitted repudiation, then King Ranch cultivated, used and enjoyed the Rincon for over 100 years, meeting the requirements of adverse possession. OPINION:Jefferson, J. Enoch and O’Neill, JJ., did not participate.

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