Coggeshall v. Fitch Homestead LLC
Plaintiffs who allege open and continuous of property and who do not allege that their use was exclusive and hostile may not possess a valid cause of action for adverse possession. The plaintiffs, Robert and Kathy Coggeshall, sued the defendant, Fitch Homestead LLC, and alleged that they and their predecessors used the subject property in "an open and undisturbed notorious and continuous fashion." The defendant moved to strike the plaintiffs’ adverse possession count. "To establish title by adverse possession, the claimant must oust an owner of possession and keep such owner out without interruption for fifteen years of open, visible and exclusive possession under a claim of right with the intent to use the property as his [or her] own and without consent of the owner," pursuant to Skelly v. Bucher, a 2012 decision of the Connecticut Appellate Court. "The use is not exclusive if the adverse user merely shares dominion over the property with other users," pursuant to Woycik v. Woycik, a 1988 decision of the Connecticut Appellate Court. The plaintiffs’ complaint failed to allege that the plaintiffs’ use of the property was exclusive and hostile, and the court granted the defendant’s motion to strike the adverse possession count. Plaintiffs, wrote the court, "do not . . . allege that the use of the property has been hostile to the owner of the fee title nor that the plaintiffs have excluded the owner of the fee from use of the property."