This case arises from a dispute between next-door neighbors over the boundary line between their respective properties. Plaintiffs and defendants each own adjacent parcels of land on a lake. Plaintiff has lived on her parcel since 1982. Defendants moved to their parcel in 2011.
In 2018, defendants decided that they wanted to plant a row of arborvitaes along the edge of the property line that they shared with plaintiffs, and had a survey conducted to determine the property line. After the survey, defendants realized that several encroachments existed from plaintiffs’ property that would prevent them from planting the arborvitaes. The encroachments included landscaping, a well, a brick path, and two trees.
Adverse Possession and Acquiescence
Defendants’ attorney notified plaintiffs that defendants planned to remove these encroachments so that defendants could plant their arborvitaes.
Plaintiffs sued, arguing that the actual property line was four or five feet over from the legally described property line on defendants’ property. Plaintiffs alleged that the property line had changed through adverse possession and acquiescence. Also, plaintiffs alleged that they had acquired a prescriptive easement through their encroachments.
After plaintiffs sued to quiet title to the disputed area, defendants moved for summary disposition under MCR 2.116(C)(5), (7), (8), and (10). Defendants argued that plaintiffs failed to show that (a) they adversely possessed the disputed area, (b) the parties acquiesced to the historic boundary, and (c) they were entitled to a prescriptive easement. In response, plaintiffs filed a cross-motion for summary disposition under MCR 2.116(C)(10).
Plaintiffs provided evidence indicating that from 1982 until 2018, members of plaintiffs’ household, defendants, and defendants’ predecessors acted as if the property line were a straight line running from a fence post on the road in front of their respective properties to the edge of plaintiffs’ garden on the lake shore. Plaintiffs, or members of their household, installed the brick path, the well, the cherry tree, the cypress tree, the garden, and the underground water line and electric line at different points between 1974 and 2018.
Defendants did not file any evidence to contest plaintiffs’ evidence.
After a hearing on the competing motions for summary disposition, the trial court ruled that plaintiffs were entitled to judgment as a matter of law for the reasons argued in plaintiffs’ cross-motion. It later entered a final order awarding title of the disputed area to plaintiffs. Without dispute, plaintiffs showed that plaintiffs, defendants, and their predecessors in ownership, treated the historic boundary as the actual property line for the requisite statutory period.
Assistance With Real Estate Litigation
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If you are facing a residential or commercial real estate, seek the advice of an experienced and skilled real estate litigation attorney at Aldrich Legal Services in Plymouth.