REG 41669

April 22, 1988

Norfolk, ss.



The petitioner herein seeks to register title pursuant to the provisions of G.L. c. 185, §1 to a certain parcel of land located on the northerly side of Laurel Terrace in Wellesley. Said parcel ("locus") is shown on a plan entitled "Plan of Land in Wellesley, Mass. owned by Anthony C. Corbosiero" dated May 4, 1984, filed with the Court as Land Court Plan No. 41669A ("plan").

A trial was held at the Land Court on November 5, 1987 at which petitioner presented the only witness, John N. Weaver, the Court appointed title examiner. One of the pro se respondents, William P. Gaughan, questioned the examiner. The other respondents were present but presented no evidence. The petitioner's exhibits consisted of the title abstract and the registration plan. These exhibits are incorporated herein for purposes of any appeal. Both the petitioner and the respondent Gaughan filed post trial memoranda. The respondents' sole objection is to the petitioner's claim to a right and easement to use Laurel Terrace from locus to Laurel Avenue. They do not dispute the petitioner's title to locus.

In consideration of the evidence, I find as follows:

1. The petitioner acquired title to locus by deed of MacGilvra, dated July 18, 1978 recorded with Norfolk Registry of Deeds in Book 5488, Page 688. [Note 1]

2. The MacGilvra title is derived from a deed of the Treasurer of the Town of Wellesley, dated August 26, 1926, recorded in Book 2631, Page 348. In this deed, locus is described as "bounded Northwesterly by Laurel Terrace."

3. The Town acquired the property through a tax taking, dated September 19, 1928, recorded in Book 1814, Page 129, and through subsequent "low value" proceedings.

4. Prior to the tax taking, title was in Charles E. Cunningham, who acquired title from Frances C. C. Johnson ("Johnson") by deed dated November 28, 1927, recorded in Book 1773, Page 168. This deed describes locus in part as follows:

Commencing at a point on the Northeasterly side of Laurel Terrace and running along Laurel Terrace in a Northwesterly direction 177 feet.

5. By deed of Sweetser, dated May 12, 1927, recorded in Book 1745, Page 278, Johnson acquired a parcel of land including locus and Laurel Terrace all as shown on a plan dated June 20, 1927 recorded in Book 1751, Page 167. At the time of the conveyance referred to in paragraph 4 above, Johnson owned an interest in Laurel Terrace, locus and the land on the southwesterly side of Laurel Terrace.

The respondents' position is that the language in the Johnson to Cunningham deed, "commencing at a point on the side of Laurel Terrace. . ." conveyed only to the side line and hence, the petitioner has no rights in Laurel Terrace.

While this may have been the law at one time, it is no longer so. In the 1905 case of Everett v. Fall River, 189 Mass. 513 , 515 (1905) where the description began "on the line of B. Street. . ." thence "westerly by said street. . .," the Supreme Judicial Court held that the grantor's title extended to the middle line of the street. In a matter decided shortly thereafter, where the description read "Beginning at a point on the northerly line of said avenue. . . thence running westerly by said avenue. . .," the Court held that

The . . . boundary line runs westerly by said avenue and must be construed to be the centerline of the avenue unless the deed by explicit statement or necessary implication requires a different construction; (cite omitted) and the fact that the monument at one end of the street boundary is stated to be in the line of the street is not now regarded as necessarily requiring such different construction. Such a case ordinarily presents a contradiction of monuments or boundaries, and the general rule must prevail. Pinkerton v. Randall, 200 Mass. 24 , 26-27 (1908).

It is clear from the foregoing that the language "commencing at a point on the Northeasterly side of Laurel Terrace and running along Laurel Terrace . . ." conveys the fee to the center line together with an easement to use the remainder.

In addition thereto, at the time of the conveyance from Johnson to Cunningham, Johnson owned both the locus and Laurel Terrace, and as such, this conveyance without the use of Laurel Terrace would have conveyed a landlocked parcel. Even absent the pertinent language, Cunningham would have acquired an easement over Laurel Terrace by implication. Tindley v. D.E.Q.E., 10 Mass. App. 623 (1980).

Furthermore, where the granted estate (locus) due to common ownership had easements and privileges in Laurel Terrace, such rights were included in the deed to Cunningham by operation of G.L. c. 183, §15.

Accordingly, in consideration of the foregoing, I find that the petitioner has the fee to the center line of that portion of Laurel Terrace adjacent to locus and has an easement to use the remainder thereof for all purposes for which ways are used in the Town of Wellesley. A decree shall be entered registering and confirming title of the petitioner in locus and in Laurel Terrace as aforesaid, subject to such other matters as may appear in, the abstract and are not in issue here.

Judgment accordingly.


[Note 1] All deeds and plans referred to herein are recorded at this Registry.