Court of Appeals of Kentucky.
May 1, 1902.
ACTION: Reversed.

Appeal from circuit court, Perry county.
Not to be officially reported.
Action by J. J. Fitzpatrick against Bertha Lyttle and others to recover land.
Judgment for plaintiff, and defendants appeal.

Appellants are the heirs at law of J. H. Combs, who was assassinated some years ago. While his widow and children were in Knox county in the prosecution of some persons indicted for killing him, his widow and several of the heirs at law signed and acknowledged a deed to Rosa E. Blair for a town lot in Hazard, Ky. Rosa E. Blair was the wife of Joseph Blair, who was an attorney at law, and was also a witness in the prosecution. He obtained the deed to be made without any consideration. The deed was not signed by all grantors, and one who signed it took steps to prevent its being signed by all, and we think it may perhaps be inferred from the evidence that the deed was not to be final until signed by all the grantors. After the trial Blair agreed to cancel the deed upon the payment of $70. He was paid the money, but the parties did not seem to think that it was necessary to put the matter in writing. The Combses continued in possession of the lot, paying the taxes on it, and holding adversely to all the world, and in the division of the estate the lot fell to Mary E. Lyttle, one of the daughters of J. H. Combs. On October 12, 1896, Joseph Blair and his wife, Rosa, conveyed the lot to appellee, Fitzpatrick, who filed this suit to recover it. The proof by Mrs. Combs and one of her daughters is that appellee was informed by them of their claim to the land, and warned not to buy it before he purchased it of Blair. While he denies this, we are of opinion that their possession of the property, and the fact that the deed was not signed by all the grantors, was sufficient to put him on inquiry, and, under the proof in the case, he cannot be regarded as a bona fide purchaser without notice. As they were in the adverse possession of the land at the time of his purchase, it was void under the champerty statute, and passed no title, and the court should have dismissed his petition.

Judgment reversed, and cause remanded, with directions to dismiss the action.


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