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Neighbors entitled to 12-foot strip of land under doctrine by acquiescence

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In a dispute between longtime neighbors over use and ownership of a strip of land, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment for one set of neighbors based on the doctrine of title by acquiescence.

In Clifford and Judith Ann Garrett v. Paul and Linda Spear, 23A01-1303-PL-96, Paul and Linda Spear filed a complaint against their neighbors, Clifford and Judith Ann Garrett, after the couple built a cattle fence along a surveyed boundary which runs to the south end of the Spears’ garage. The garage was built in 1996 on land they believed to be their property, but the 2010 survey showed it belonged to the Garretts. The Spears believed it to be their property based on discussions and actions of the previous homeowners, Georgia and Don Gillis. The Gillises erected a fence along what they believed to be the property line, which is what the Spears used when building their garage. The Garretts tore down that fence, but never looked into where the proper line was until the 2010 survey.

The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the Spears, finding the ruling controlled by the doctrine of acquiescence. The court ordered the Spears to obtain and properly record a survey reflecting the boundary line that has been in existence since 1983 along the fence line by agreement between the Gillises’ and the Spears’ property. The Garretts were ordered to remove the fence installed along the boundary.

“As the Indiana Supreme Court held in Adams (v. Betz), ‘where owners of adjoining premises establish by agreement a boundary . . . and improve the same in accordance with such division, each party, in the absence of fraud, will thereafter be estopped from asserting that the line so agreed upon and established is not the true boundary line . . . ,’” Judge Elaine Brown wrote. “We find, based upon the designated evidence, that this is precisely what took place. Accordingly, we conclude that the court did not err in granting summary judgment to the Spears based upon the doctrine of title by acquiescence.”
 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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