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Carpenter v. Ruperto

Supreme Court of Iowa
315 N.W.2d 782 (1982)



Virginia Carpenter (plaintiff) moved into her home in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1951. The property on which the home was situated bordered an empty lot. At first, the empty lot was partially a cornfield, and then used for storing debris. Shortly after moving in, Ms. Carpenter cleared out a portion of the adjacent lot, knowing the land belonged to another, out of concern that the lot would attract rodents. Over the years, Ms. Carpenter used the adjacent lot to plant bushes, and eventually stored a propane tank and extended her driveway onto it. In 1978, a group of investors purchased the adjacent lot (Ruperto) (defendants). Ruperto, aware that Ms. Carpenter had been using a portion of the lot, attempted to settle any dispute regarding her use of the land. This failed, and Ms. Carpenter brought an action to quiet Ruperto’s title on the lot through adverse possession. The trial court determined that Ms. Carpenter did not obtain the adjacent lot through adverse possession under a claim of right, as Ms. Carpenter did not use good faith in using the adjacent lot because she knew its title belonged to someone else. Ms. Carpenter appealed and eventually petitioned for certiorari to the Supreme Court of Iowa.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (McCormick, J.)

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