AUSTIN, Texas, Sept. 18 - John Thomas of Hicks Thomas LLP successfully
represented King Ranch, a cattle ranching centerpiece in Nueces County,
in a case that put an end to a land rights dispute lasting more than 120 years.
The Texas Supreme Court reversed a determination from 2001 that permitted
the heirs of William Warren Chapman to sue, alleging his family was wrongfully
denied their right to 15,500 acres of King Ranch property.
Mr. Thomas stated that his clients were pleased with the case outcome,
and that, “The Court ruled that you can’t get a do-over after
According to the Supreme Court of Texas, the reversal “demonstrates
the wisdom in protecting the stability of final judgements.”
Mr. Chapman was a business partner with King Ranch founder Richard King
in the 1800s. After Mr. Chapman’s death, his widow filed suit against
King for her husband’s half interest in the 15,500 acres of property.
The case settled in 1883 when Mrs. Chapman’s lawyer sold her interest
in the property for $5,800. In addition, a trial court awarded the title
for a 240-acre tract of land to the estate of William Chapman.
The Texas Supreme Court upheld the 1883 judgment in a 21-page opinion and
precluded allegations that Mrs. Chapman’s lawyer experienced a conflict
of interest caused by additional legal work for King.
“This is an important case,” Mr. Thomas said, “not only
to the owners of King Ranch, but for any individual or company that has
secured a Texas judgement or land title based on a court judgement.”