On July 31, 2015, the Tennessee Supreme Court entered a decision which will bolster the rights of property owners against the stale claims of distant relatives. This case involves 58 acres which Ricky Bailey, his father, and his grandfather have farmed since 1918.

In 2009, one of Mr. Bailey’s neighbors brought a boundary line lawsuit concerning an approximately ¼ acre portion of the farm. In the course of the boundary line litigation, Mr. Bailey’s cousins, the Littletons, appeared, and, relying upon a 100-year-old technical quirk in the law, laid claim to title to the Bailey farm.

Even though the Littletons had never claimed an interest in the farm, and did not even know about any potential claim, until after the initiation of the boundary line lawsuit, the trial court and the Tennessee Court of Appeals twice ruled that the Littletons owned a portion of the farm, which would give the Littletons the ability to force the sale of the farm at auction.

Aided by FMS attorney Matthew Grossman, the Tennessee Supreme Court granted a rare review of the case. As shown in the opinion, the Supreme Court wisely decided that when a family maintains exclusive possession of land for many years, as was the case with the Bailey farm, relatives may not use the luck of birth to claim property from the rightful owners.

Mr. Grossman has focused his practice on land title litigation for most of his career and has litigated these cases in courts throughout Tennessee. If you would like to discuss a land dispute or any other property matter, with Mr. Grossman, you may call him at 865-360-4103, or email him at mgrossman@fmsllp.com

You may purchase honey from the Bailey Farm on Thursdays from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm at New Harvest Park (off of Washington Pike) and on Saturdays at Market Square from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM.