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Grace v. Koch

Ohio Supreme Court
692 N.E.2d 1009 (1998)


Facts

Leonard Grace (plaintiff) received a tract of land from his parents, who owned the adjacent tract. Grace built a driveway that encroached on his parents’ tract of land by five feet. Grace and his father also built a fence running near the driveway. The fence was on Grace’s parents’ tract, and in between the fence and the driveway was a 34-foot strip of land that was located entirely on Grace’s parents’ property. In 1970, Grace sold his tract to Anthony and Elizabeth Koch. As part of the sale, Grace obtained an easement from his parents so that the owner of the property could use the driveway in full. Grace then transferred the easement to the Kochs. The Kochs used the 34-foot strip as a side yard, building a swing set and carport, among other uses. The Kochs received permission from Grace’s parents to mow the strip. After Grace’s parents died, Grace took title to his parents’ property, including the 34-foot strip. In 1992, Grace became frustrated with the noise of the Kochs’ son’s racecar, which was parked on the strip. When the Kochs refused to stop using the strip, Grace sued for trespass. At trial, the Kochs conceded that they would not have used the strip without permission. The trial court held that the Kochs had obtained title to the strip by adverse possession. The court of appeals reversed. The Kochs appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Pfeifer, J.)

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