Henry v. Liebner (IN)

Summary: An adverse possessor of a parcel must show all elements of adverse possession for ten or more years and must also pay the taxes.


Henry v. Liebner, 32 N.E.3d 258 (Ind. Ct. App. 2015)


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Facts: William and Mary Ann Henry (“the Henrys”) brought suit against Margo Liebner (“Liebner”) to dispute Liebner’s use of a triangular parcel of farm land located between the two parties’ properties. Liebner argued that she had established adverse possession from the time she purchased her property in March 2004 until the Henrys brought suit in September 2011. To meet the duration element of adverse possession, Liebner also included the predecessor in title’s use of the triangular parcel prior to her ownership. Furthermore, Liebner testified that she believed she had paid the property taxes for the triangular parcel since she took possession in 2004. The Henrys argued that they were the title holders of the triangular parcel and that the quitclaim deed they received in 2011 was evidence of the fact.

In November 2013, the trial court entered an order concluding that neither the Henrys nor Liebner were the title holder of the triangular parcel, but that under adverse possession law the predecessor in title of Liebner’s property had taken possession of the title of the property and therefore, Liebner held the title to the parcel. The Henrys filed a timely appeal.



Holding: Affirmed in part, reverse in part, and remand. The issue brought on appeal is whether the trial courted erred in its conclusion regarding Liebner’s adverse possession claim. To establish ownership by adverse possession, the claimant must show by clear and convincing evidence control, intent, notice, and duration. Furthermore, in Indiana the adverse possessor must also comply with § 32-21-7-1 of the Indiana Code regarding the payment of taxes. All the elements must be satisfied for a period of ten years.

On appeal, the court held that the trial court erred, in part, because there was no evidence showing that the predecessor in title of Liebner’s property had met the tax requirement of adverse possession. However, the court did hold that Liebner showed evidence to support that she paid the taxes of the triangular parcel for the seven year period she owned the adjacent property, but remanded the case back to the trial court to determine whether the predecessor in title had also satisfied the tax element of adverse possession.

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By: ATG Underwriting Department | Posted on: Fri, 04/22/2016 - 9:10am