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Conflicting property surveys create boundary line dispute

Giving deference to the trial court's conclusion that one of the surveyors (R) was the more credible witness, the court was not left with a definite and firm conviction that the trial court erred in ruling that R's survey correctly placed the boundary line. The court also upheld the trial court's award of $12,603.49 in damages to the defendants. The parties owned adjoining lots on a lake. This dispute arose in 2004 when plaintiff was preparing to build a house on her lot. A new survey was completed, which indicated that defendants' septic tank encroached on her property. She filed suit, seeking removal of the septic tank and damages for defendants having removed trees from the disputed area. Defendants counterclaimed to quiet title. The trial court originally granted defendants summary disposition on the basis of acquiescence, but the court reversed and remanded. The case was essentially one of opposing surveys - the K survey, prepared for plaintiff, versus the R survey, prepared for defendants. On remand, the trial court found that the "overwhelming evidence" supported the R survey and it "adopted that as the one that properly reflected the platted boundary line." The trial court specifically found that R's testimony was more persuasive and more credible than K's testimony. It also concluded that the R survey "more accurately took into account the traverse line and the platted lot width." The court found that the trial court's reasoning behind accepting the R survey "with respect to how it accounted for the traverse line and the platted lot width strongly supports the trial court's conclusion." Thus, it affirmed the trial court's holding that the R survey accurately determined the platted boundary line. Plaintiff also objected to the damages award, claiming that defendants presented inadequate substantiation for the costs incurred. The primary focus of her argument was "that the substantiation was based upon the charges appearing on reservation forms and billing statements and were not substantiated by cancelled checks." However, she presented no authority for the proposition that costs must be substantiated by presenting the cancelled checks, and the court was not aware of any such authority. The court also rejected her contention that R's bill was inaccurate because the summary conflicted with the detailed billing and thus, should have been rejected by the trial court.

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