MICHAEL SIPES, ET AL.
TERRY SIPES, ET AL.
Session Date: February 16, 2016
from the Chancery Court for Dyer County No. 13CV421 Tony
appeal concerns a dispute between a father and his adult son
over the transfer of real property. In 1997, the father
constructed a house on a portion of his two-acre tract of
land for his son. Several years later, the son agreed to
purchase the house. Subsequently, a disagreement led the
parties to discover identical errors in the legal
descriptions in the warranty deed executed by the father
transferring the property to the son and the deed of trust
securing the son's purchase money loan. The trial court,
upon its finding of mutual mistake, reformed the incorrect
legal descriptions in the deeds, but the court also granted
the father a right to use a shed and garden on the son's
land. We affirm the trial court's reformation of the
legal descriptions in the deeds. However, because we conclude
that the evidence is less than clear and convincing that the
parties intended the deeds to include the father's right
of use, we reverse the trial court's decision to grant
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Chancery
Court Affirmed in Part and Reversed in Part.
W. Palmer and Julie W. Palmer, Dyersburg, Tennessee, for the
appellant, Michael Sipes.
S. Sauer, and Bridget Brodbeck Parkes, Nashville, Tennessee
for the appellee, Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC.
brief filed on behalf of the appellee, Terry Sipes.
Neal McBrayer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which J. Steven Stafford, P.J., W.S., and Arnold B. Goldin,
NEAL McBRAYER, JUDGE
Factual and Procedural Background
Sipes ("Father") owned a two-acre
parcel of real property in Dyersburg, Tennessee. Although
originally a single tax parcel, the property was eventually
subdivided into three tax parcels: parcel 25, parcel 25.01,
and parcel 25.02.
constructed his own house on parcel 25.02, known as 579
Highway 210, in the property's northeastern corner. On
parcel 25, the largest of the three tax parcels, Father built
a storage shed and established a sizable "garden
spot" where he grew potatoes and onions. The
shed-occasionally referred to by the parties as a barn or
"shop"-had electrical service, and Father used it
to perform maintenance work on his tractor and lawnmowers and
to store hunting decoys.
1997, Father took out a loan to build a house on a portion of
parcel 25 for his son, Michael Sipes ("Son"). The
construction loan was secured by a deed of trust executed by
Father in favor of Union Planters Bank. Notably, the deed of
trust described the entirety of tax parcel 25 as security for
the loan. Specifically, the deed included the following
BEGINNING at a point in the centerline of Peach Street and
Circle Drive; runs thence North 28 degrees 48' east to a
set iron pin in the east line of Peach Street right-of-way;
runs thence South 51 degrees 54" east 149.98 feet to a
set iron pin; runs thence North 38 degrees 05' 203.34
feet to a set iron pin; runs thence East 90' more or less
to a point in the original east line of the Terry C. Sipes
lot, E.R. Hendrix west line; runs thence Southerly along said
east line approximately 250 feet to a point the southeast
corner of this lot; thence west along the south line of the
Terry C. Sipes original lot to the point of beginning.
deed of trust was recorded on January 14, 2003, with the Dyer
County Register of Deeds.
Father and Son built the house on the property's
southeastern corner, with the address of 180 Circle Drive.
Upon its completion, the house stood approximately 15 feet to
the shed's east edge and several feet south of the garden
spot. For a period of time, Father made payments ...