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Chaplin v. Sanders

Washington Supreme Court
676 P.2d 431 (1984)


Peter and Patricia Sanders (defendants) owned land adjacent to land owned by Kent, Barbara, Kenneth, and Hazel Chaplin (plaintiffs). Around 1958, the Hibbards converted their land into a trailer park. Because the boundary was unclear, the Hibbards chose a drainage ditch to serve as the property line and built a road nearby. In 1960, neighbor McMurray had his land surveyed and found that the true boundary was not at the ditch and that the road encroached on his property. In 1962, Hibbard sold his land to the Gilberts. The sales contract recognized the true boundary. All subsequent owners of the Hibbards’ land had no notice until the Sanderses acquired it in 1976. The Sanderses had actual notice of the true boundary. The Sanderses continued to operate the trailer park on the land, using the road regularly. A strip of land between the road and the ditch was regularly used by residents, who maintained and planted flowers on it. In 1978, the Chaplins purchased McMurray’s undeveloped land without knowledge of its true boundary. The Chaplins learned of the true boundary and sued to quiet title. The trial court found that the Sanderses had adversely possessed the road but not the parcel between the road and the ditch. The Court of Appeals reversed as to the road, finding that the Sanderses had not established hostility. The Sanderses appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Utter, J.)

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