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ITT Rayonier Inc. v. Bell

Supreme Court of Washington
724 P.2d 6 (1989)


Bell (defendant) purchased a boathouse in 1972. Adjacent to this property was land, the subject of this action, that was owned by ITT Rayonier (plaintiff). Bell used this land to moor the boathouse and also constructed a sauna, outhouse, and shed. ITT sued to quiet title, eject Bell, and to recover damages for trespass. At trial, Bell testified that he believed the subject land belonged to the state and that he never erected any boundary markers or “No Trespassing” signs. Two other families, the Klocks and Olesens, had also used the land for outhouses and other minimal uses. The trial court held that Bell did not acquire title by adverse possession because he did not hold the land exclusively. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s holding, but also provided an alternative justification by holding that Bell lacked a good faith claim of right. Bell appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Pearson, J.)

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