Adverse possession enables a party to obtain title of another’s property by operation of law.

Case example:   Kruckenberg v. Krukar et al

Kruckenberg and Krukar are neighbors.  Kruckenberg purchased his 40 acre parcel in 1983 and Krukar purchased his 11.5 acre parcel in 2001.  Kruckenberg’s parcel is generally west of Krukar’s parcel, with the exception of a deeded one rod strip of land along the south boundary of Krukar’s parcel.  An 1882 predecessor deed described a one rod (16.5 feet) strip of land “designed as a roadway.”  Krukar’s predecessor was required to construct and maintain a fence along the north margin of the road description.  The fence was never located within the one rod specification; rather, it encroached 10 to 12 feet onto Krukar’s parcel along the length of the driveway.

The neighbors argued over the fence and the encroachment for 10 years.  Krukar’s request to remove the fence was denied by Kruckenberg.  Along the way, Kruckenberg gave different people, including Krukar, permission to use the roadway for specific tasks, and he posted a “no trespassing” sign at the entrance.  Krukar eventually removed the fence without permission, and Kruckenberg sued.  Krukar moved for summary judgment, but it was denied.  The jury ultimately found adverse possession and awarded damages for removal of the fence.

On appeal, a court will search for any credible evidence that will support a jury verdict.  Here, the Court of Appeals determined there was credible evidence to support the verdict, holding that the circuit court properly denied Krukar’s motion for summary judgment and granted judgment on the jury verdict.

If you have a property dispute, contact Jim Smith, Jon Pinkert or Amy Sullivan at Pinkert Law Frim LLP to discuss.