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Hauxwell v. Henning

Supreme Court of Nebraska

June 5, 2015

SELMA B. HAUXWELL, APPELLEE,
v.
H.W. FERDINAND HENNING ET AL., APPELLEES, AND RYAN R. HANZLICK ET AL., APPELLANTS

Page 799

Appeal from the District Court for Furnas County: DAVID URBOM, Judge. Reversed and remanded for further proceedings.

Robert S. Lannin and Wesley Bottorf, Senior Certified Law Student, of Shively & Lannin, P.C., L.L.O., for appellants.

Roger L. Benjamin, P.C., for appellee Selma B. Hauxwell.

HEAVICAN, C.J., WRIGHT, CONNOLLY, STEPHAN, MCCORMACK, MILLER-LERMAN, and CASSEL, JJ.

OPINION

Page 800

[291 Neb. 2] Heavican, C.J.

NATURE OF CASE

Ryan R. Hanzlick and his wife acquired two tracts of land through treasurer's tax deeds. A trust controlled by Hanzlick subsequently acquired title to the two tracts by quitclaim deed. The trust and Hanzlick and his wife in their individual capacities are the defendants-appellants (collectively referred to as " the Hanzlicks" ). Selma B. Hauxwell, the plaintiff-appellee and the adjacent property owner, does not appear in the official records of the county register of deeds as the owner of the two tracts, but had allegedly been using those tracts since 1971.

After the Hanzlicks acquired the property, Hauxwell filed a complaint seeking to quiet title by claim of adverse possession. The Hanzlicks filed a counterclaim asking the district court to find that they were the owners of the two tracts and to eject and enjoin Hauxwell from the property. The district court found that Hauxwell had acquired title to the property through adverse possession and did not address any other issues regarding the tax deeds. The Hanzlicks now appeal. We [291 Neb. 3] find the district court erred in determining that Hauxwell had standing to challenge the tax deeds and in failing to address the Hanzlicks' counterclaims.

BACKGROUND

Hauxwell, along with her first husband, purchased a parcel of land (Broeker land) in Furnas County, Nebraska, in 1959. Hauxwell's first husband later passed away, and Hauxwell subsequently remarried. Hauxwell is still the record owner of the Broeker land. Hanzlick, as trustee of Midwest Investments Irrevocable Trust, is recorded in the official records as the owner of two tracts of land (Tracts 1 and 2) adjacent to the Broeker land. Tracts 1 and 2, collectively, consist of approximately 21.45 acres. There is a former open-pit silica mine on the first tract, and the second tract consists of 2 acres and is a " deeded easement" across the Broeker land to reach the nearby county road. Hanzlick acquired Tracts 1 and 2 by treasurer's tax deeds in 2010. Hanzlick and his wife deeded title of the tracts to the trust by quitclaim deed.

Hauxwell currently resides in an assisted living facility in Arapahoe, Nebraska. Ihling Lee Carskadon, Jr., is Hauxwell's son and her attorney in fact. Carskadon testified at trial that he has performed work on Tracts 1 and 2 since at least 1971, including controlling the musk thistle and shearing cedar trees on the property. Before 2001, Carskadon's cattle would regularly graze on Tracts 1 and 2. In 2001, Carskadon began renting out the Broeker ...


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