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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. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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