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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. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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