Lucas v. Brown

CourtSupreme Court of Alabama
Writing for the CourtBEATTY; TORBERT
Citation396 So.2d 63
PartiesSusie M. Isaiah LUCAS v. Johnlene Lucas BROWN, Ind. and as Executrix, etc., et al. 79-884.
Decision Date24 March 1981

Page 63

396 So.2d 63
Susie M. Isaiah LUCAS
Johnlene Lucas BROWN, Ind. and as Executrix, etc., et al.
Supreme Court of Alabama.
March 24, 1981.

Page 64

Alfred W. Goldthwaite, Montgomery, for appellant.

Philip Dale Segrest, Montgomery, for appellees.

BEATTY, Justice.

The plaintiff, Susie M. Isaiah Lucas, appeals from the granting of defendants' motion to dismiss. We affirm.

Susie M. Isaiah Lucas, a resident of the state of Michigan, filed her complaint in the Circuit Court of Montgomery County, alleging that during her childhood she lived with David Isaiah who owned land in Montgomery County. David Isaiah died in February 1954, leaving a last will and testament which was filed for probate with the Probate Court of Montgomery County on September 28, 1956, two and one-half years after his death.

Under the will of David Isaiah the plaintiff was bequeathed forty acres of land for her natural lifetime and at her death the land was to go to Rosie Lucas, David Isaiah's daughter. Rosie Lucas, who died in February 1978, was the wife of the defendant McKinley Lucas. Rosie and McKinley had a daughter, Johnlene Lucas Brown, who is also a defendant, both individually and as executrix of her mother's estate.

The complaint alleged that the plaintiff was not advised of the will in 1954, that she had made inquiry about the will at the Montgomery County Probate Office and found no will, and that she remained unaware of the will being filed for probate in 1956 until her attorney checked the records in December 1979. The complaint also alleged that in 1967 McKinley and Rosie conveyed the land to their daughter, Johnlene Lucas Brown, by a warranty deed which omitted any reference to the life tenancy of the plaintiff.

The plaintiff contends that since McKinley and Rosie executed the warranty deed to Johnlene, in spite of their knowledge of the plaintiff's interest, such conveyance should be subject to the plaintiff's rights.

The plaintiff by her complaint requested the trial court to set aside the deed from McKinley and Rosie to Johnlene; to order the defendants to pay the plaintiff $7,000.00 of back rent collected from February 1954 to the present; and to award her $10,000.00 in punitive damages.

The defendants filed a motion to dismiss stating that the cause of action was barred by laches, and by prescription. The motion to dismiss also stated that the claim for punitive damages should be dismissed since Rosie Lucas was deceased and without her testimony the plaintiff should not be allowed to file her claim. After a hearing on the motion, the trial court granted the motion to dismiss without setting forth any grounds. The plaintiff appeals the granting of that motion.

Although the trial court did not set forth specific grounds for the granting of the motion, a lower court's granting of a motion to dismiss is due to be affirmed if any one ground of the motion was well taken. See Locke v. Locke, 291 Ala. 344, 280 So.2d 773 (1973). We are of the opinion that the rule of prescription or the twenty-year doctrine of repose controls this case and that the motion to dismiss was properly granted based on the application of the rule.

Prescription, or the twenty-year doctrine of repose, has long been recognized in Alabama. In Morris v. Yancey, 267 Ala. 657, 104 So.2d 553 (1958), this Court said:

This court has adhered with uniform tenacity to the doctrine of prescription

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and has repeatedly held that the lapse of twenty years, without recognition of right or admission of liability, operated as an absolute rule of repose....

This Court further explained the rule in McKee v. Goldthwaite, 287 Ala. 232, 250 So.2d 682 (1971),...

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2 cases
  • Powe v. Roy Anderson Const. Co., No. 2004-WC-00805-COA.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • 6 Septiembre 2005
    ...that the person seeking to limit the remedy of the injured party be in an employer-employee relationship with that party. Kilgore, 396 So.2d at 63. Thus, unlike Mississippi law, Alabama's workers' compensation legislation does not extend immunity to general contractors if the general contra......
  • Sims v. Sims
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • 30 Enero 1987
    ...the land of their father, were remaindermen. There can be no adverse possession by a life tenant against a remainderman. Lucas v. Brown, 396 So.2d 63 (Ala.1981). Thus, Fannie Sims could not have acquired title to the interests of the children of T.W. and Daisy Sims by adverse A trial court'......

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