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Brown v. Gobble

West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals
474 S.E.2d 489 (W. Va. 1996)


Facts

The Gobbles (defendants) and Browns (plaintiffs) were owners of neighboring properties in West Virginia. The properties were divided by a two-feet-wide tract of land, which was owned by the Browns, but was enclosed on the Gobbles’ side of the property line by a fence. The Gobbles bought the property in 1985 from the Fletchers who bought the property in 1978. The Fletchers, and subsequently the Gobbles, had used the two-feet-wide tract as their own, enclosed by the fence, the entire time they lived on the property until 1994, when the Browns decided to build a road along the tract. The Gobbles tried to stop the Browns from doing so by claiming ownership in the tract. The Browns then filed this complaint, seeking to enjoin the Gobbles from interfering with the Browns’ use of the tract of land. The Gobbles filed a counterclaim, alleging ownership of the tract of land through adverse possession. The adverse possession statutory period in West Virginia is ten years. The Circuit Court of Mercer County found in favor of the Browns. The Gobbles appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Cleckley, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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