I love reading adverse possession decisions in Connecticut.
These cases are often hard fought by warring neighbors. Compromise is often not an option because the level of disdain is so high between the parties.
If fences make for good neighbors adverse possesion cases certainly do not. Unless of course the fence is at the heart of an adverse possesion case.
Most broadly defined, adverse possession, is a method of acquiring title to real property without compensation by possession for a statutory period of time under certain conditions. Black’s Law Dictionary.
In Connecticut, to acquire title to land by adverse possession a claimant must oust an owner of possession and keep such owner out without interruption for 15 years by an open visible and exclusive possession under a claim of right with the intent to use the property as his own without the consent of the owner.
In Brusseau v. Soper, 2008 WL 1914248 (Leuba, JTR.) a party prevailed in an adverse possesion action when he proved that starting in 1988 the defendant added 100 yards of fill to an area that was 66 feet long and 25 feet wide. The defendant also planted trees and maintained a wood pile on the disputed area.
The plaintiff argued that the woods between the plaintiff’s house and the wood pile made the defendants activity less visible to the plaintiffs.
JTR Leuba did not buy the plaintiff’s argument and found the following:
These activities were not minor or subtle. Adding 100 yards of fill and regrading cannot be done in a clandestine manner.
I don’t think I’m going out on a limb when I say that JTR Leuba got it right.