If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times … a picture tells a thousand words! See [HERE].

Selby v. Knudson is a case which is difficult to comprehend without diving into the reporter to actually get the “picture” – i.e. plat maps.

Unfortunately, today I am not going to allocate the time to run over to the law library to get that picture and so I am going to muddle on.

Oh, you don’t like that. OK, go find yourself an elevator firm in Seattle or Bellevue’s CBD where they pay good money to showcase reporters … which their lawyer’s never [ehr,] “often” review thereby completely worth their firm’s spend on rent.

At any rate, let’s just get down to brass tacks.

First, let’s figure out the players.

Selby – check. First sentence of the decision states: “William and Darlene Selby brought this action to quiet title to a 15.15-foot strip of land located at the eastern terminus of Crown Street in Walla Walla.” Moreover, “[t]he Selbys own the lot which abuts the strip on the north.”

Ziskas – i.e. “Charles and Jane Doe” – check. These are the folks for whom the lower court had “rejected … the claim that the intent of the persons who subdivided this area in 1906 … was to extend [Crown Street] to the western boundary of what is now the Ziskas’ property.”

Stop right there damn it! Could we please be clear that this regards Ziskas’ recorded property.  Ok, resuming …

Nixons – check. “In 1901, Kate and Edward Nixon recorded the plat of Garden City Heights Addition in Walla Walla.”

City of Walla Walla – check. “On June 2, 1992, the Selbys brought this action against the Ziskas, the City of Walla Walla, the Nixons, and others.”

OK, we’re ready to rock and roll … right?

> Ah, Mr. Zierman, is possible that you are forgetting somebody?

Come on don’t bother me, I’m trying to post out a blog before I get “eclipsed” by this weekend. Ha,ha, ha, get it … “eclipsed”!

> Um, no I’m serious here Mr. Zierman, I think you better go back to your list of as you call it … “players.”

Why? What am I missing?

> Could you please tell me and your audience who was defendant Knudson?

Ahhhhh … Ahhhh … Ummm ?… No! Knudson is not important. Must be um, um, one of those “others” … you should know by now, that’s very technical legal jargon – “others.”

I mean heck, the Nixons have put on 91 years since they recorded this plat and Selby’s aren’t leaving them alone … why shouldn’t they just go out there and throw a name in their pleading which OBVIOUSLY the court doesn’t believe to be of sufficient import to indicate. Knudson, Fruitson, Blutson, Chewtson, Zuitson … does it really matter? Of course it doesn’t! His name is “Milton Knudson” … It’s not Milton Bradley!

Alright, Now look right here at footnote 1. What does it say? Read it!!!

> Mr. Zierman, I would be be most pleased to read it. Yet, I kindly request that you please do not use that tone with me.

[Snarl …]

OK Mr. Zierman, here, … here goes. Ahm, Footnote 1:

“An order of default against the Nixons and others was entered on September 8, 1992. A stipulated order of default against the City of Walla Walla was entered on October 13, 1992.”

Good! … Now what that CLEARLY means is there was notice by publication against the Nixons who would have been no less than 109 years of age at the commencement of this lawsuit and for some reason they decided … NOT TO SHOW UP!

You following, my math right. Capacity at 18 plus 91 years … right?

> O … O … OK, Mr. Zierman, but again … could you please lower your voice.

Hold on! You’re not getting the point. You see at least the City of Walla Walla had the decency to show the court some respect.

Sure, they didn’t have any skin in the game and could have stayed home like the Nixons, but did they? Heck no!

Knudson? Shoot for all I know they were dismissed from this action for failure of service in the first place … others is others, OK!

> OK, Mr. Zierman, I, I, .. I get your point. Please just tell me the answer.

The answer is this pal.

Step 1: Selby’s simply wanted to quiet title to their land. You with me so far.

Step 2: Selby’s get litigation guarantees on every affected adjoiner and sue everyone on those list(s).

Step 3: Nobody gives a hoot … the land has been used by the Selby family since 1946 – which is 46 years. And what type of use did they have? The laundry list includes:

  • Beekeeping
  • Use of a “full-size Red Cross tent”
  • Fencing
  • Parking
  • “Gathering and Burning Wood” (Now, that’s a bonfire … . See [HERE].)
  • Children’s games of Play
  • Planting Flowers … and
  • Cutting Grass

Step 4: Waste the next 6 months preparing for trial (Incidentally, that’s extremely quick. King County Scheduling is a full year).

Step 5: Win at trial in front of a judge that somehow didn’t get the memo that the Washington Supreme Court in Chaplin eliminated the need for Selby’s to even make their adverse possession claim “in good faith under a claim of right” … certainly because the attorney didn’t bother to raise this point … along I suspect with hiring a surveyor to testify as an expert witness. And finally …

Step 6: Waste another 2+ years defending against an appeal.

Was it worth it? I don’t know.

I do know this much too though … this Division III appellate court though getting to the right answer … still wasn’t unanimously clear as to how.

No, then you have Judge Schulteis jumping in seeking with a concurring opinion to determine this case based on whether the City of Walla Walla still owned this land in its “proprietary” not “governmental” capacity. Gosh, whether that distinction had been vitiated or not at the time of this decision, I don’t know. I’m going home.

Just know this, if you want to get to conclusionary predictions get your survey ready for a Justice Smiles review and fill out this Initial Assessment [HERE].