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McKnight v. Basilides

Washington Supreme Court
143 P.2d 307 (1943)


Facts

Alice and Charles Basilides (defendant) were married in 1901. Mrs. Basilides had two children from a previous marriage, Alice McKnight and Fred King (plaintiffs). Mrs. and Mr. Basilides had a child together, Ruth Allison (plaintiff). The family purchased two houses in Seattle. The first was located at 5203 First Avenue and was known to the family as the big house. The second, at 326 West Forty-First Street, was known as the little house. Mrs. Basilides died intestate in 1929, and her estate was never probated. After Mrs. Basilides’s death, Mr. Basilides lived in the big house and rented out the little house until it was sold on a partial-payment sales contract in 1938. Mr. Basilides maintained and made improvements to both properties and paid all of the taxes and assessments. More than two decades after their mother’s death, Alice McKnight and her brother Fred King brought an action to partition the two properties and for an accounting against Mr. Basilides’s use of and income from the property. The lower court found that Alice and Fred each held a one-sixth interest in both properties, performed an accounting against Mr. Basilides for his use of the properties over the years, and decreed that the big house should be sold for partition. Judgment of default was entered against Ruth, and Mr. Basilides appealed and alleged that he had already obtained exclusive title to both properties through adverse possession.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Simpson, C.J.)

Dissent (Mallery, J.)

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