Resort loses trespass to title claims against County

 

Arrowhead Resort, LLC v. Hill County, Texas, 10-12-00446-CV (Tex. App. – Waco, February 6, 2014).

This is an appeal from the granting of the County’s summary judgment motion dismissing Arrowhead’s trespass to try title and declaratory judgment claims over title to a road. The 10th Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal.

The roadway at issue was on land owned by Frances Boliver who was sued several decades ago by a subdivision for blocking access to the roadway which had been used by the public for 30 years. The County intervened in the suit. The parties settled the dispute with an agreed judgment. Boliver conveyed the property containing the road to Hill County for so long as the land is used as a county road.  Boliver sold the land which was eventually purchased by Arrowhead Resorts, however the property containing the road was not included in the sale. Arrowhead argued that Chapter 281 of the Transportation Code states that a county can only obtain an interest in a private roadway by purchase, condemnation, dedication, or final judgment of adverse possession. It also asserted the County failed to continue to use the roadway as a public road.

The Waco Court of Appeals held §281.002 is not retroactive.  The evidence established the roadway was used by the public since 1950 and was a public roadway at the time of dedication which is prior to the enactment of §281.002.  Further, the County owns the land underneath the roadway so Arrowhead cannot assert a right to title of the property. Arrowhead’s purchase did not include the land under the roadway.  Since the County prevailed on the declaratory judgment claim, it was proper to award the County attorney’s fees.

If you would like to read this opinion click here.  Panel: Chief Justice Gray, Justice Davis, and Justice Scoggins.  Opinion by Justice Scroggins. The attorney listed for Arrowhead is Robert A. Miller.  The attorney listed for the County is Mark F. Pratt.