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Lee v. New York Life Insurance Co.

Supreme Court of Arizona

February 16, 1944

JOHN C. LEE and BESS McGINNIS LEE, His Wife, POPE HIXON and BELLE W. HIXON, His Wife, Appellants,
v.
NEW YORK LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, a Corporation, Appellee

APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of the County of Maricopa. Howard C. Speakman, Judge. Judgment affirmed.

Messrs. Cox and Cox and Mr. John W. Ray, for Appellants.

Messrs. Sloan, Scott & Green and Mr. Robert DeWolf, for Appellee.

OPINION

Page 844

STANFORD, J.

This is an action to quiet title, on appeal from the Superior Court of Maricopa County, Arizona, before the Honorable Howard C. Speakman, Judge.

[61 Ariz. 178] The complaint alleges that plaintiff is the owner in fee simple and entitled to the possession of property in said county and state, described as:

"All that portion of the Northwest Quarter of Section 10, Township 2 North, Range 3 East, of the Gila & Salt River Base & Meridian, lying South and West of the Arizona Canal, except the west 1584 feet thereof, and also excepting that parcel of said Northwest quarter described as follows, to-wit: Beginning at a point 264 feet east from the southwest corner of the Southeast Quarter of the Northwest Quarter of said Section 10, Township 2 North, Range 3 East, of the Gila & Salt River Base & Maridian, on the quarter section line; running thence east 76 feet, thence north 300 feet; thence west 76 feet; and thence south 300 feet to the place of beginning, together with all improvements thereon and all water rights appurtenant thereto."

All defendants except John C. Lee and Bess McGinnis Lee, his wife, and John C. Lee, Trustee, and Pope Hixon and Belle W. Hixon, his wife, defaulted, and those defendants answering denied the ownership in the plaintiff and also denied that it was entitled to the possession of the premises. The answer also alleged that since December, 1919, the Hixons

"... entered into adverse possession of the whole of said premises described in plaintiff's complaint and have since, together with their lessees and grantee, remained in peaceable and adverse possession, resided upon, collected rent therefrom, paid taxes and water assessments, improved, used, cultivated and enjoyed the whole of said property described in plaintiff's complaint,... that said defendants their lessees and grantees have been in peaceable and adverse possession of the premises described in plaintiff's complaint for more than twenty years before the commencement of plaintiff's action.

"Wherefore, defendants demand judgment that the complaint herein be dismissed with costs and that if plaintiff be entitled to recover possession of said [61 Ariz. 179] premises that the defendants claim for improvements, taxes, water assessments be tried and that defendants recover same as provided by law."

On the 6th day of November, 1941, at the close of the trial a motion was made by the plaintiff for judgment and the same was granted and formal judgment was signed on the 17th day of said month.

The facts show title of appellee was procured by judgment received by it against J. W. Walker and Beatrice A. Walker, his wife, and then by execution of sale of the premises by Sheriff's Deed dated December 5, 1940. The Walkers derived their title by warranty deed from C. E. Harris and Forrest D. Harris, his wife, July 26, 1929.

In said Superior Court there was filed in May, 1931, and tried in May, 1933, the case of J. W. Walker and Beatrice A. Walker, His Wife, Plaintiffs, vs. John C. Lee and Bess Lee, His Wife and S.W. Howard, and the court on January 20, 1936, quieted title in plaintiffs in that action for the lands now claimed by the appellee herein, and quieted ...


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