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Creekmore v. Hackler

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

November 29, 2016

STANLEY CREEKMORE, ADMINISTRATOR FOR THE ESTATE OF ALMA B. LONG
v.
JASON S. HACKLER, ET AL.

          Session Date: September 14, 2016

         Appeal from the Chancery Court for Campbell County No. 08-087 Elizabeth C. Asbury, Chancellor

          This is the second appeal of this property dispute concerning a mother's reservation of a life estate in property conveyed to her son pursuant to a warranty deed. The mother initially brought suit against the son to enforce her right to possession. She later sought to amend her complaint in an attempt to attack the validity of the deed. Before ruling upon the motion to amend, the trial court granted summary judgment based upon the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations for ejectment actions. This court reversed in Long v. Creekmore, No. E2012-01453-COA-R3-CV, 2013 WL 1320515 (Tenn. Ct. App. Mar. 28, 2013). Upon remand, the trial court denied the motion to amend the complaint and dismissed the action following the death of the mother and son. The administrator of the mother's estate appeals. We affirm the trial court.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Chancery Court Affirmed; Case Remanded

          J. Stephen Hurst, LaFollette, Tennessee, for the appellant, Stanley Creekmore, Administrator for the Estate of Alma B. Long.

          Vic Pryor and Kathy Parrott, Jacksboro, Tennessee, for the appellee, Jason S. Hackler.

          John W. McClarty, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which D. Michael Swiney, C.J. and Thomas R. Frierson, II, J., joined.

          OPINION

          JOHN W. McCLARTY, JUDGE

         I. BACKGROUND

         In 1983, Alma B. Long ("Mother") signed a warranty deed in which she conveyed a portion of her property to her son, Raymond G. Creekmore ("Son"), and his current wife, Ursula Creekmore, subject to the following provision:

Grantor reserves unto herself a life estate for and during her natural lifetime in and to the above described property.

         Son lived on the property with Ms. Creekmore until they separated. Ms. Creekmore remained on the property following their separation. Mother's attorney mailed Ms. Creekmore a letter, dated July 5, 1990, which provided, in pertinent part as follows:

By deed dated August 30, 1983, [Mother] conveyed certain land to [Son] and wife, Ursula Creekmore, which deed was recorded in [ ] the Register's Office for Campbell County, Tennessee, on August 31, 1983, [Mother] reserved a life estate in the subject property. Under Tennessee law, [Mother] therefore retained a right of possession and control of this property during her lifetime.
[Mother] hereby give[s] notice that she wants possession of the subject property and for you to vacate the premises on or before Thursday, July 19, 1990. In the event you do not voluntarily surrender the premises, without damages and in good condition, [Mother] has instructed me to file a detainer action and take other legal action as may be appropriate to ...

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