Case Conclusion Date: 07.06.2009
Practice Area: Real Estate
Outcome: Victory. Defense Verdict.
Description: Border dispute brought by my clients' next door neighbor, claiming to own a portion of my clients' property under the adverse possession doctrine. After week long bench trial, judge determined by written decision that claim was without merit. Case tried in Rockingham County Superior Court, New Hampshire. My clients, a married couple, were issued notice not to trespass in their own yard. My clients were told that since they had only recently moved to the area, that the other side had all of the witnesses and all of the evidence and that therefore my clients could not win. This proved wrong, but it took two years of litigation, over a half dozen depositions, and a week of trial time. Adverse possession, we are taught in law school, requires a statutory period (20 years in this jurisdiction) of open, continuous, exclusive, adverse and notorious use by the trespassory possessor. The use here was found not to be continuous or exclusive. An attempt to re-shape the case with a claim for "acquiescence" failed, as all of the cases under that doctrine involve a clear line such as a fence, a stone wall, the side of a driveway, even a railroad spike in one case. In this case the dispute was over a largely wooded and rocky area with no such clear line.