Monday, January 6, 2014

Harris v. Strawbridge case brief

Harris v. Strawbridge case brief summary
330 S.W.2d 911 (1959)

Defendant heirs challenged a ruling from the Court of Civil Appeals of Texas, Houston, which affirmed the trial court's judgment in favor of plaintiff widow in the widow's action to recover title to a tract of land in Matagorda County.

The widow filed the instant action against some of her late husband's heirs, and the petition was in the statutory form of trespass-to-try title with a claim for damages. The widow also claimed title under three statutes of limitations and sought to reform an alleged deed from decedent to her, contending that by mutual mistake the granting clause had been omitted. The widow urged that the action was to reform the alleged deed and to remove cloud from the title.

The jury decided that the widow had title under the 10 year statute of limitation, the court entered judgment for the widow, and the lower appellate court affirmed the judgment.


  • On further appeal, the court held that the case had not been fully developed. 
  • On another trial, the widow might be able to show more extensive use of the property as to raise a fact issue that the heirs had constructive notice of the widow's claim. 
  • The evidence did not support a title in appellee by limitation because the widow was not a tenant in common with the heirs if she was not the owner under the alleged deed. 
  • Because decedent executed an instrument that revoked a previous will, decedent died intestate as to the property in question.
The court reversed the trial court's judgment in the widow's favor in the widow's action to recover title to a tract of land and remanded the cause for a new trial.

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