Real Property – Adverse Possession – Between Cotenants

C. V. James and his wife and children owned certain property as tenants in common. In 1931 defendant Fallon recovered a judgment against C. V. James, and the land was sold by a sheriff under execution. Fallon became the purchaser at the sheriff’s sale and was issued a sheriff’s deed purporting to convey the entire interest in the property. Thereafter he was “in the actual, visible, distant, hostile, exclusive, continuous and uninterrupted possession” of the land and paid all taxes thereon. Plaintiffs, the wife and children of James, brought this action to determine the ownership of the property. Fallon claimed title by adverse possession under an eighteen-year statute of limitations. The lower court held that the plaintiffs, as tenants in common, were the owners of a ¼ interest in the land and that defendant had claim only to the ¾ interest formerly owned by the judgment debtor. On appeal, held, affirmed. The sheriff’s deed passed to defendant only such interest as was owned by the judgment debtor, making him a tenant in common with plaintiffs. The statute of limitations does not begin to run against cotenants until an “ouster” of the cotenants has been established, and under the facts presented Fallon did nothing amounting to an “ouster.” Fallon v. Davidson, (Colo. 1958) 320 P. (2d) 976.