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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Boundary Dispute
Here's an interesting case that just happened here in Washington. Let me set up the scenario for you, this may not be exactly what happened, but I'm providing the link to case law so if you're REALLY inclined you can read for yourself:

The case is Proctor Versus Huntington.

Mr. Proctor and The Huntington's both purchased parcels (30 and 27 Acres respectively) of land that adjoined each other. They were given a vague description of the property lines by the seller of the land. The Huntington's actually camped on the land for a couple of years and even met Mr. Proctor while camping there. They assumed they were camping on their land and in fact, Mr. Proctor never said anything to them about them being on his land. Turns out they were camping on his land. To take it one step further, the Huntington's, again under the assumption they were on their land, had a home, well and garage build on that portion of land. They lived there for 6 years when Mr. Proctor had a boundary survey done and discovered that the Huntington's were in fact on HIS land. He filed a motion to have them ejected from the land and have the house, well and garage removed.

When the court heard the case, they refused to eject the Huntington's because the damages to them (over $300,000 to have the buildings and well removed) far exceeded the benefit Mr. Proctor would receive by getting his land back. The court through some appraisal process valued the approximately one acre the Huntington's were on at $25,000. So they made a property line adjustment and ordered the Huntington's to pay Mr. Proctor $25,000 for his land.

Now in Washington we have a law called "Adverse Posession" that among other things states that if you use land that isn't yours for 10 years, you maintain it, act as if it is yours and the actual property owner doesn't prohibit you from doing so, you have legal claim to that land. There are other provisions that define this, so don't start mowing your neighbor's yard with the hopes that after 10 years he doesn't say anything and you get more land, but you get the general idea. Even though this case did NOT meet adverse posession, the court still sided for the Huntington's. Just when you think you know the law . . . .

I'd love to hear your comments on this! What say ye!?

Here's the link to the actual case if you're bored and want to read case law:


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