Aramony v. District of Chapman Beach
For a claim of adverse possession, the plaintiff's claim of exclusive possession was negated by the trial court's finding that the plaintiff's predecessor in title was unsuccessful in her attempts to keep other residents from using the disputed area and that other residents in the beach community continue to use the area. The plaintiff, Rosemary Aramony, appealed from the trial court's judgment finding for the defendant, the district of Chapman Beach, on the plaintiff's claim of adverse possession to a 1,531 square foot parcel of beach-front land located immediately adjacent to the lot to which she holds record title, lot 3. She claimed that she provided clear and positive proof that she and her predecessors adversely possessed the disputed area and that such possession occurred almost immediately after her predecessors, her grandparents, John and Mary Annino, obtained title in 1947. She claimed, inter alia, that the court's finding of initial permissive use was clear error. The Appellate Court disagreed and affirmed the judgment. In 1906, Charles Chapman, conveyed lot 3 to Mary Lohmes, with an easement over lot 17, which includes the disputed area. Title to lot 3 changed hands several times before conveyance to the Anninos in 1947, with the easement over lot 17 intact. The plaintiff claimed that the 15 year period in C.G.S. §52-575(a) began when the Anninos took title to lot 3. However, even if the Anninos did not request permission to use the area in 1947, they had permission by virtue of the deeded easement and, later, by virtue of an unwritten good neighbor policy of the beach association which took title to lot 17 in 1950. The plaintiff unsuccessfully argued that the Anninos' use, even if permitted, went far beyond any permitted use and amounted to actual possession, repudiating any initial permission. The trial court specifically found, however, that Mary Annino was unsuccessful in her attempts to keep other residents from using the disputed area and that others continue to use it to the present. This finding specifically negated the claim of exclusive possession. The findings regarding the property's use found support in the record and were not clearly erroneous. The plaintiff failed to prove exclusive dominion and control over the disputed area for any continuous 15 year period.