Vance v. Tassmer
Certification to appeal was improvidently granted from the Appellate Court's decision affirming the trial court's order to enforce a settlement agreement. Ronald and Carol Vance brought this action against their adjoining neighbors, Kennth Tassmer and Richard Perillo, seeking a declaratory judgment that under the doctrine of adverse possession the plaintiffs owned certain land. The parties reached a settlement agreement providing for a new boundary line between their properties. Because this left the defendants' property with less than the minimum frontage requirement, the agreement provided that the defendants would seek a variance and if the relevant zoning board of appeals failed to approve their application, the case would proceed to trial. Thereafter, the defendants filed a motion to open the settlement agreement and withdrew their variance application. The trial court granted the plaintiffs' motion to enforce the settlement agreement. The Appellate Court dismissed the defendants' appeal for lack of a final judgment. Eventually, at a hearing on a second, amended variance application, Perillo told the board that denial of the variance would not cause a hardship and the defendants wanted a trial. The trial court then granted the plaintiffs' motion to enforce the settlement agreement finding that the defendants waived their right to pursue a variance and conveyed the property to the plaintiffs. The defendants appealed. The Appellate Court agreed with the trial court regarding the defendants' waiver but concluded that the trial court improperly ordered the property conveyed when other agreement provisions had not been satisfied. The judgment was reversed, in part, and the case remanded with direction to render a judgment of adverse possession for the plaintiffs contingent on compliance with the agreement's terms, except for the variance contingency. The Supreme Court granted the defendants' petition for certification to appeal regarding whether the Appellate Court properly affirmed the trial court's granting of the motion to enforce the settlement agreement. After examining the record on appeal and considering the briefs and oral arguments, the panel determined that the appeal should be dismissed on the ground that certification was improvidently granted.