Charlton v. Crocker

Court of Appeals of Missouri, 1984.

665 S.W.2d 56.

Johnson, pp. 59-65


Facts: The Crockers bought two lots in a subdivision.There were a series of fires threatening the Crockers, and they wanted to cut the brush in some of the neighboring lots.When they asked about doing this, the county prosecutor told them in passing that they could get the land by adverse possession in ten years if they arenít paid for their labor.So the Crockers started clearing the brush from the adjacent lots.Later, the Charltons bought the lots and sued the Crockers.The Crockers won at trial, and the Charltons appealed.


Issue: Did the Crockers acquire title to the lots in dispute by adverse possession?


Rule: The defendants must show actual, hostile, open and notorious, exclusive, and continuous possession of the property in dispute for the statutory period.


Analysis: The main reason that the Crockerís claim fails here is because there is evidence that they didnít really subjectively believe that they had a right to occupy the adjacent lots.Mrs. Crocker said they moved their mobile home because they were concerned that it was too close to the line between their lot and another that they are now claiming to own.Because they seem not to have really believed they were entitled to the land, the element of hostile possession is not satisfied.


Conclusion: The trial court is reversed and the Charltons get the land.


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