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Chaplin v. Sanders

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


Facts

Peter and Patricia Sanders (defendants) own 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, 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 Sanders acquired it in 1976. The Sanders had actual notice of the true boundary. The Sanders 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 Sanders 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 Sanders had not established hostility. The Sanders appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Utter, 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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