Our very own Craig Blackmon recently took a case to trial and won — congratulations, Craig! Great job!!
The case involved a boundary dispute between adjoining neighbors. The two properties were originally owned by a Mom and her Son. Mom and Son were not concerned about the boundary between their properties. As a result, Son built a large shed mostly on Mom’s property; Son also built a fence that encroached some 40 feet onto Mom’s property. Mom wasn’t concerned about these structures because she trusted Son to do what was right and he had her permission to use her property as he deemed necessary.
Craig’s clients (Mr. and Mrs. Client) purchased their property from Mom. Much to Clients’ surprise, Mr. Client had been childhood best friends with Son! It was a truly remarkable coincidence. It had been about 15 years since Mr. Client and Son had seen each other, and they were thrilled to be neighbors again. Because of their relationship, Mr. Client and Son agreed to continue with the arrangment between Son and Mom. As a result, Son and Client used the properties on both sides of the fence with the true owner’s permission.
Son then sold to a — hmm, how to put this — “difficult” man who proved to be an exceptionally bad neighbor (Mr. Bad Neighbor). The relationship between Mr. Bad Neighbor and the Clients soon deteriorated. Eventually, Mr. Bad Neighbor claimed ownership of the shed and all of Clients’ property up to the encroaching fence. But unfortunately for Mr. Bad Neighbor, he owned the property for only 9 years and 11 months before the Clients filed suit (one must use another’s property for 10 years in Washington in order to take title via adverse possession).
The case involved some tricky hearsay issues (the agreement between Son and Mother, and between Son and Mr. Client) because Son was not to be found and was not a witness. But Craig handled it with skill and aplomb (at least that’s how he told it!). It was a bench trial (judge only, no jury) and the judge concluded that Craig’s clients were the true legal owners of the area in dispute. Great work, Craig!! Another victory for Blackmon Holmes.