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Devins v. Borough of Bogota

592 A.2d 199 (1991)

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Devins v. Borough of Bogota

Supreme Court of New Jersey

592 A.2d 199 (1991)

Facts

Devins (plaintiff) purchased three lots from James and Jeanette Geraghty in 1965. The lots included 11 and 11A, where a single-family residence was located, and Lot 10, a 25-by-100-foot lot that contained a barbeque pit. The Geraghtys had obtained the title to Lot 10 by quitclaim deed in 1958. A single chain-link fence surrounded all three lots. However, in 1962, the Borough of Bogota (defendant) had acquired title to Lot 10 through an in-rem foreclosure. After buying the lots in 1965, Devins used Lot 10 for parking, cookouts, lounging, and other recreational purposes. Devins also installed a basketball backboard, erected a shed, mowed the grass, and paved a portion of Lot 10 to provide additional parking. In 1985, Devins sent a letter to Bogota, seeking a concession of title to Lot 10 as a result of adverse possession. Bogota refused, and Devins sued Bogota, alleging adverse possession. The trial court determined that Devins had established the elements of adverse possession but decided that adverse possession was not available against a municipality. The court of appeals affirmed, and Devins petitioned the New Jersey Supreme Court for review.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Pollock, J.)

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