Groom v. Reynolds

Decision Date26 March 1981
Citation396 So.2d 690
PartiesKeith L. GROOM and wife, Betty S. Groom v. Jerrell REYNOLDS and wife, Omi Joyce Reynolds. 79-623.
CourtAlabama Supreme Court

J. E. Sawyer, Jr. of Rowe, Rowe & Sawyer, Enterprise, for appellants.

Joe S. Pittman of Pittman, Whittaker & Hooks, Enterprise, for appellees.

ADAMS, Justice.

This is a statutory ejectment action filed by Keith and Betty Groom against Jerrell and Omi Joyce Reynolds to recover a tract of land containing approximately three acres of farmland in Coffee County, Alabama. The action arises out of a boundary dispute between owners receiving their property from common grantors. The deeds from the common grantors contain conflicting property descriptions, one by plat and the other by natural monuments. The disputed three acres lies between a plat line and one of these natural monuments, the Alto McIntosh Road. The jury returned a verdict for the Grooms finding the plat description to contain the true boundary. The trial court granted the Reynoldses' motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, and, in the alternative, granted their motion for new trial as allowed under Rule 50, ARCP. The Grooms appeal, contending the jury verdict is supported by the evidence.

On November 22, 1976, John LeCompte and his wife, Martha, the common grantors, executed a deed conveying the following described property to the Reynoldses:

All that part of the SW 1/4 of the NE 1/4, Section 15, Township 3 North, Range 21 East lying east of the Alto McIntosh Road. Said property being bounded on the East by lands of Onyx LeCompte, on the North by James Kyser property, on the West by Alto McIntosh Road, and on the South by the LeCompte Road, a paved road. Less and except one acre heretofore conveyed by Grantors to Grantees in 1962, and one acre consisting of the dwelling house of the Grantors. Said tract containing in all 18 acres, more or less. (Emphasis added.)

Several years later the LeComptes conveyed the remainder of their farm property, which adjoined that conveyed to the Reynoldses, to the Grooms. Executed on July 2, 1979, this deed contained in part the following relevant property description:

N 1/2 of NE 1/4, SE 1/4 of NE 1/4, Section 16, S 1/2 of NW 1/4, W 1/2 of SW 1/4 of NE 1/4 and the NW 1/4 of NW 1/4 less 10 acres on the east side thereof in Section 15, all in T3, R21, situated, lying and being in the County of Coffee and State of Alabama.

LESS AND EXCEPT : All that part of the SW 1/4 of NE 1/4, Section 15, Township 3 North, Range 21 East, lying east of the Alto McIntosh Road, and containing 18 acres, more or less. Said property being bounded on the East by lands of Onyx LeCompte, on the North by James Kyser property, on the West by Alto McIntosh Road, and on the South by the LeCompte Road, a paved road. Less and except one acre heretofore conveyed by Grantors to Grantees in 1962, and one acre consisting of the dwelling house of the Grantors. Said tract containing in all 18 acres, more or less. (Emphasis added.)

The "less and except" clause in the Groom deed simply restates the property description contained in the Reynolds deed.

The SW 1/4 of the NE 1/4, Section 15 described in the Reynolds deed and the S 1/2 of the NW 1/4, Section 15 described in the Groom deed are adjacent parcels of land separated by a straight plat line running North and South. The Alto McIntosh Road, described in both of the deeds, overlaps this plat line at its southern end, but it deviates from the plat line as it proceeds north, thereby cutting into the eastern portion of the Groom parcel. It is this severed portion that the Grooms seek to recover in this ejectment action. (See map, Appendix I.)

This Court recently held that, when a deed contains conflicting property descriptions, parol evidence is admissible to ascertain which description the parties intended to adopt. Campbell v. Carl, 395 So.2d 480 (Ala.1981). The parol evidence in this case is in conflict. One of the common grantors, Martha LeCompte, testified that she only intended to convey to the Reynoldses the property contained in the plat description. Yet, Wynelle Lassetter, an employee of the Department of Agriculture, testified to the opposite effect. She said that Jerrell Reynolds and John LeCompte came to her office to record a change in property ownership as it affected crop quotas. She testified to the effect that her office records of this "farm reconstitution date" indicated that the parties intended the Alto McIntosh Road to be the line between them.

Finding that conflicting evidence was presented on the determinative issue of which boundary was intended by the parties, we hold that the...

To continue reading

Request your trial
9 cases
  • Ex parte Bennett
    • United States
    • Alabama Supreme Court
    • September 17, 1982
    ...on the following issues: 1. Is there a conflict in this court's decision in Hanson v. Couch, 360 So.2d 942 (Ala.1978), and Groom v. Reynolds, 396 So.2d 690 (Ala.1981), as compared with the decision in Harville v. Goza, 393 So.2d 988 (Ala.1981)? If so, what is the proper standard to be used ......
  • Jawad v. Granade
    • United States
    • Alabama Supreme Court
    • September 26, 1986
    ...and preponderance of the evidence will not be disturbed unless the evidence plainly and palpably supports the verdict. Groom v. Reynolds, 396 So.2d 690 (Ala.1981); Hubbard Bros. Const. Co. v. C.F. Halstead Contractor, Inc., 294 Ala. 688, 321 So.2d 169 (1975); Cobb v. Malone, 92 Ala. 630, 9 ......
  • Johnson v. Haynie
    • United States
    • Alabama Supreme Court
    • June 4, 1982
    ...burden is the only basis in the trial court's opinion for granting JNOV, we hold that this order is due to be reversed. Groom v. Reynolds, 396 So.2d 690 (Ala.1981). We now turn to the propriety of the court's grant of a new trial because of the granting and refusal of certain charges. Plain......
  • State v. Blackburn
    • United States
    • Alabama Supreme Court
    • December 22, 1994
    ...specifying the grounds therefor, the ruling must be sustained on appeal if any good ground is presented by the motion." Groom v. Reynolds, 396 So.2d 690 (Ala.1981). However, if the trial court's order granting a new trial states no specific ground for granting a new trial, and this Court de......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT