Tag Archives: Adverse Possession

Thompson v. Schlittenhart – Case Review

Some boundary dispute cases involve a little bit more than the parties’ contrary claims of adverse possession and quiet title to the recorded real property. No, sometimes the professionals can make bank by engaging in a contest in which one of them will ultimately end up the butt of the joke. [1] That’s what happened … Continue Reading

Wells v. Miller – Case Review

Wells v. Miller opens with one of the best written overviews of any Washington adverse possession cases. [1] Larry L. Wells appeals a summary judgment which quieted title in Jerry and Betty Miller to a vacated county road right of way. The principal issues is whether a claim of adverse possession commences when a county road … Continue Reading

Chaplin v. Sanders – Case Review

Chaplin v. Sanders is without doubt the most important adverse possession case in Washington state.[1] It is a case stacked high with facts supporting the claimants of adverse possession.[2] But, there was a legal snag which gave it legs for appeal to the Washington Supreme Court. Essentially, there was a break in the chain of … Continue Reading

When Fencing … Touch! You can not … Thrust.

Recently, I was involved in a mediation which raised an important point about what to do when you are putting up a fence. I thought I would take a moment to spell out some basics so that you don’t end up with a mess ten years down the road. The overarching point is spelled out … Continue Reading

Adverse Possession’s Flaw and How to Fix It

Adverse possession is a law which allows an owner of land to do two things (1) disallow stale claims for the ownership of the totality of the property and (2) to claim ownership of land which is beyond the titular bounds of a legal description as determined by surveyors after having conducted a retracement survey. … Continue Reading

Hey Everybody – Matt’s Got a Great Idea!

Robert – Adverse possession to a property owner is legalized theft. The new law [RCW 7.28.083] should have struck it down completely. Adverse possession is archaic and with today’s ready access to surveys, there is no reason absolute boundaries cannot be confirmed and legal boundaries protected by the very authorities property owners fund with their … Continue Reading

How Might Ms. Lilly Fair Under RCW 7.28.083

In yesterday’s post, I reviewed the case Lilly v. Lynch, 88 Wn.App. 306 (Div. II 1997). For those not wishing to review, it was basically about Ms. Lilly going beyond what seems to have been a longstanding boundary wall which was used to recognize her boundary from a chain of previous neighbors. She did this … Continue Reading

Mysterious World of Surveying Occurs Largely Behind the Scenes

  As an associate member of the Land Surveyors Association of Washington (LSAW), I receive the quarterly magazine, Evergreen State Surveyor. The Winter 2012 edition had an interesting article written by the wife of a surveyor. This is the view of someone close, but not within the survey profession. Author Stephanie Dickson chronicles her husband’s … Continue Reading

Title & Fence Lines: Should Your Surveyor Get them Both?

The situation is this. You are about to hire a surveyor. You should anticipate the possibility that the surveyor will determine a boundary which is contrary to your understanding of the use and occupation on the ground.  There are several reasons for seeeking this upfront clarity … and contingency planning when contracting with your surveyor. … Continue Reading

Lloyd v. Montecuco: Projecting Property Lines Along Land is Fine; Into Tidal Waters is a Different Story

Lloyd v. Montecuco, 83 Wn. App. 846 (Div. II 1996) is a waterfront case which helps to identify the extent to which definitive (boundary) lines must be demonstrated in order to achieve adverse possession. The case is informative with respect to adversely possessed property boundaries both on land and out into the water. Background Facts: … Continue Reading

Real Property Professor Emeritus William Stoebuck’s Passing

This morning I had a meeting with Washington Supreme Court Chief Justice Barbara A. Madsen. We exchanged ideas regarding her concurring opinion in Gorman v. City of Woodinville in which she suggested the legislature should eliminate adverse possession. I presented ideas regarding the Washington Legislature’s new adverse possession law RCW 7.28.083. Almost beyond coincidence, upon my return my inbox contained an email from some of my … Continue Reading

Calculating the Odds of an Adverse Possession “Trial Win”

Last night, I found myself turning over ideas as to how to for Adverse Possession cases one might create a framework for calculating a “Trial Win”. Notably, I carefully chose the term “Trial Win” and define it only as prevailing against one’s neighbor at trial. Barring truly exceptional instances, the reality parties who find themselves taking their Adverse Possession matter all the … Continue Reading

Vote for Justice Steve Gonzalez for State Supreme Court Position No. 8 – Now (i.e. on or before August 7, 2012)

This past Thursday, I had the privilege of attending a fairly small event in which Justice Steve Gonzalez also attended. In fact, by happenstance of his slightly delayed entrance, we ended sitting close enough to each other to have a conversation. My impressions were these. Steve Gonzalez is an extremely thoughtful, polite, and reasonable man. For anyone that … Continue Reading

Adverse Possession’s RCW 7.28.083 is Now in Effect!

RCW 7.28.083 officially became effective today, Sunday July 1, 2012. Effectively the new law of adverse possession became effective at the close of business of Washington’s Superior Courts on Friday. What’s in store? I have done my best to anticipate how the changes will effect the practice of boundary dispute law in Washington. It is my hope that the law will allow people more … Continue Reading

Taking a Closer Look at Washington’s New Adverse Possession Law – RCW 7.28.083

I spent the better half of last week at the annual conference of LSAW (Land Surveyors Association of Washington). While there, not only did I have the chance to listen to some interesting presentations, I was given the opportunity to give a presentation on adverse possession … twice. As surveyors are often the people that identify the titular lines of property which on many … Continue Reading

Survey Says the Fence Encroaches – Now What?

 Your survey indicates that the fence encroaches your way; your neighbor’s survey indicates that the fence encroaches in their direction; or perhaps you split the cost of a survey and you found that the fence encroaches one way or another … what should be done now? First try to find out the following facts: Who … Continue Reading

Yours Truly to Present to Surveyors at WSS – ACSM about Washington State’s New Adverse Possession Law

On Thursday, January 19th, yours truly is being given the opportunity to speak to the Washington State Section of the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (“WSS – ACSM”). The topic write-up is this: Last year the Washington State legislature changed the law of adverse possession by giving courts discretion to award (1) reasonable attorney fees and … Continue Reading

Hostile & Exclusive: Are these Really Distinct Elements?

I explained that the element “Open & Notorious” is actually “two sides of the same fence” in this recent post. There I indicated that “Open” is the way the putative adverse possessor demonstrates possession. “Notorious” is how the title holder, or the world as the title holder’s proxy, recognizes this demonstration. Well, how far of a … Continue Reading

Open & Notorious’ Constructive Notice may be an Elemental ‘Surprise’ in Adverse Possession and Prescriptive Easement Cases

Open & Notorious is an extremely difficult element to understand and prove (and yes, despite the required burden – disprove) in Adverse Possession and Prescriptive Easement cases. In my humble opinion, much of this relates to an overall misunderstanding of the fact that this single element is actually two elements combined into one. I liken … Continue Reading

Parole Agreement

The transfer of land generally requires a written document, which is then recorded. This is per a body of contract law called the Statute of Frauds. The Statute of Frauds emerged in common law to protect against situations in which someone might make a claim based merely on what was purportedly spoken. The idea is to … Continue Reading
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