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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. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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