Daigle v. Edinburgh Properties LLC
Activities such as parking cars, working on a driveway, performing maintenance on a cottage and trimming the vegetation and trees may qualify as adverse, open and notorious, even if performed only during the summer. The court found the following facts. Since 1970, the plaintiff, Harris Daigle, and his family, have owned and occupied a cottage on Highland Lake in Winchester, Conn. The northeastern line of the defendant's property passes through the Daigle family's 550 square foot summer cottage. The plaintiff filed a motion to quiet title and argued that his use and enjoyment of the property has been open, visible, notorious, adverse, exclusive, continuous, uninterrupted and under a claim of right for more than 15 years. Allegedly, the plaintiff parked his motor vehicles, worked on the driveway, performed maintenance on the summer cottage and trimmed the vegetation and trees. The defendant asked the court to eject the plaintiff and requested $175,000 in damages, for loss of rents and profits. The court reviewed 50 exhibits, which included maps, deeds and photos. The plaintiff has been the owner of record of his property since 1970. At the time that he filed his complaint, he had owned and occupied the summer cottage continuously for 37 years. Allegedly, the defendant's property consisted of a vacant forest until the defendant purchased it. The defendant argued that ownership via adverse possession requires more than planting vegetables, placing ladders, cutting trees and whacking weeds. A person who claims title via adverse possession must prove, by clear and convincing evidence, adverse, open, notorious and continuous use for the entire statutory period. The court found that the plaintiff proved each element of his claim by clear and convincing evidence. The plaintiff's open and public use was sufficient to establish he possessed exclusive control of the disputed area, to the exclusion of others, and that he used the property continuously, for 37 years. The court granted judgment to the plaintiff.