Trespass-to-Try-Title Action – Reversed and Rendered

  • Lackey v. Templeton
    • 09-17-00183-CV, 2018 WL 3384570
    • 1A District Court of Jasper County
    • Justice McKeithen, July 12 2018
  • Templeton sough declaratory judgment for 100% ownership to the mineral estate of two tracts of land. Multiple parties involved.
  • Defendants filed an answer and special exceptions complaining that Templetons brought the wrong cause of action to obtain determination of tile; rather, Templetons should have pled the case as a trespass-to-try-title. Each side filed a motion for summary judgment.
  • The trial court granted partial summary judgment to Templetons.
  • By looking to the Declaratory Judgments Act, the Texas Property Code, and recent Supreme Court precedent, the Ninth Court held that a dispute involving a claim of superior title must be brought as a trespass-to-try-title action. Lance v. Robinson, 543 S.W.3d 723, 735-36 (Tex. 2018). The underlying nature of the suit is not altered by couching request relief as declaratory. Templetons were required to plead and prove a trespass-to-try-title claim. All trial court orders on summary judgments were reversed; plaintiffs take nothing.