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Kiesel v. Hovis

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Sixth District

August 9, 2013

Alvin J. Kiesel, et al., Appellees
v.
Ronald J. Hovis, Appellant

Trial Court No. 10 CV 1085

James S. Nordholt, Jr. and Martin D. Koop, for appellees.

Thomas M. Bowlus, for appellant.

DECISION AND JUDGMENT

SINGER, P.J.

(¶ 1} Appellant appeals the order of the Sandusky County Court of Common Pleas granting a judgment notwithstanding the verdict in a quiet title action. Because we conclude that the jury's verdict was one upon which reasonable minds could differ, we reverse.

(¶ 2} Appellees, Alvin J. and Jane I. Kiesel, and appellant, Ronald J. Hovis, are owners of adjacent parcels of farmland in Scott Township, Sandusky County, Ohio. At issue is the boundary line between these parcels. In contest is a strip of land 126 feet wide and 2, 660 feet long, containing approximately seven acres of land.

(¶ 3} Both parties derive their claim from late nineteenth and early twentieth century sale of the land by Henry Nye. On April 11, 1898, Nye sold Samuel Roberts land in Scott Township described as:

Fifteen (15) rods off from the west side of the East half (1/2) of the North east quarter (1/4) of Section Fifteen (15) Township four (4) Range Thirteen (13) East Embracing all land on the west side from the center of the located Ditch on said West half Section Containing Fifteen (15) acres of land. (Emphasis added.)

(¶ 4} This west parcel would eventually come into the hands of appellant.

(¶ 5} On April 1, 1902, Nye sold Henry Hughes the east parcel that would eventually come to appellees. The deed description of this property was:

The East half (1/2) of the North East quarter (1/4) of Section Fifteen (15) Township four (4) North Range thirteen (13) East. Also, the east half (1/2) of the West half (1/2) of the north east quarter (1/4) of section fifteen (15) Township four (4) North, Range thirteen (13) East except fifteen (15) acres off of the west part sold to Samuel Roberts, a ditch running north and south to be the dividing line, containing in all one hundred and five (105) acres of land. (Emphasis added.)

(¶ 6} These property descriptions continued unchanged in the chain of title of both parties. The same language contained in the Hughes deed appears in the deed when appellees purchased the east parcel from Robert Garn in 1994. The Roberts deed language was in the deed to appellant's father when he bought the west parcel in 1966.

(¶ 7} In 2007, when appellant recorded a transfer on death deed, he was advised by a representative of the county auditor that no further transfer would be permitted until the property description was updated. Appellant hired surveyor Gregory Drown to update the description.

(¶ 8} Measuring 15 rods from the west side of the east half of the northeast quarter, Drown set the dividing line between the parcels 126 feet east of the course of the north-south ditch on the property. Drown later testified that this measurement produced a ...


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