Hatton v. Grigar

66 S.W.3d 545 (2002)

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Hatton v. Grigar

Texas Court of Appeals
66 S.W.3d 545 (2002)

RW

Facts

For decades, area residents had occasionally made use of a gravel road lying on property owned by John Hatton (defendant). The road’s early history was obscure. There was no formal record of the road ever having been dedicated for public use, and it was not maintained by the county. Although the road did not lead to any church, school, or other public facility, Daniel Grigar (plaintiff) used the road as his only means of travel between his landlocked property and the local state highway. When Hatton threatened to cut off Grigar’s access, Grigar sued for a declaratory judgment that he was entitled to continue using the road. At the bench trial, witnesses presented conflicting evidence as to the road’s private or public character. For example, Hatton testified that he frequently barred specific drivers from using the road. However, other evidence indicated that the road was always free and open to anyone who wanted to use it. After weighing the evidence and based on its findings of fact, the trial court ruled that the road was open to public use by implied dedication. Hatton appealed to the Texas Court of Appeals.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Fowler, J.)

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