Hicks Thomas LLP Obtains Favorable Ruling for King Ranch, Settles 120-Year-Old Property Dispute

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 120 years.”

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.”