Texas Trespass to Try Title
Contributor, Seth Grove
Under Texas law, a Trespass to Try Title Action is the method used to resolve disputes as to title to real property. In order to prevail in a trespass to try title suit a Plaintiff is required to recover on the strength of his own title, rather than the weakness of the Defendant’s title.Stated another way, a Plaintiff must show his title is superior to that of the Defendant.
The Plaintiff in a Trespass to Try Title action must prove he has proper title through one of the following:
1. a regular chain of conveyances from the sovereign to the plaintiff;
2. a superior title to that of the defendant out of a common source;
3. title by limitations; or
4. prior possession which has not been abandoned.
A Trespass to Try Title suit the prevailing party’s remedy is title to, and possession of, the real property at issue.
If evidence of even one link in the chain of title is missing, and the plaintiff fails to meet his burden of proof, he is barred from recovery.  A plaintiff who loses his suit is barred from recovery, even if he had true title but simply failed to provide evidence of each link in his chain of title at trial.
If a plaintiff fails to prove he has superior title over the defendant, then the court trying the case must enter a take nothing judgment which “operates to divest the plaintiff of all its title to its interest in the lands in controversy and to vest the same in the defendant.” To put it more simply, any land being fought over in a Trespass to Try Title suit is awarded to the winning party, and the losing party loses all right to the land.
Because the stakes are so high in a trespass to try title suit, an experienced attorney is needed to carefully consider and scrutinize the effect on the chain of title.
 Rogers v. Ricane Enters., Inc., 884 S.W.2d 763, 768 (Tex. 1994).
 Porretto v. Patterson, 251 S.W.3d 701, 708 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 2007, no pet.).
 Kilpatrick v. McKenzie, 230 S.W.3d 207, 211 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2006, no pet.).
 Glenn v. Lucas, 376 S.W.3d 268, 74 (Tex. App.—Texarkana 2012, no pet.).