Plaintiffs William F. Crum (William) and Cynthia M. Crum (Cynthia) (together, Plaintiffs) filed their unverified Complaint on April 6, 2011, pursuant to G. L. c. 240. § 6, seeking to quiet title to a strip of land (the ROW) located between their property at 63 Raymond Drive, Hampden, MA (Plaintiff Property) and property owned by Defendants Raymond Polhemus and Dawn Polhemus (together, Defendants) located at 55 Raymond Drive, Hampden, MA (Defendant Property), and claiming they owned the entire ROW by adverse possession. [Note 1] Defendants filed an Answer on June 8, 2011. A case management conference was held on June 15, 2011. On November 1, 2012, Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Default for Keddy. A pre-trial conference was held on December 5, 2012, at which this court allowed the Motion to default Keddy. On March 18, 2013, the parties filed a Stipulation (the Stipulation) in which they agreed that title to the ROW was held by each party to the center line of the ROW pursuant to the Derelict Fee Statute. A site view and trial in the Palmer District Court was held on March 25, 2013. At the trial Defendants attempted to submit two Affidavits (the Affidavits) into evidence, both of which affiants were scheduled to be witnesses at trial. [Note 2] This court allowed both parties to brief the issue. Defendants filed their brief on April 1, 2013. Plaintiffs filed their brief on April 8, 2013. By Order dated May 24, 2013, this court found that the Affidavits should not be allowed into evidence. The deadline for filing post-trial briefs was set for June 24, 2013. Plaintiffs filed their post-trial brief on June 19, 2013, and Defendants did not file a post-trial brief. Defendants did, however, file with the court a letter on April 25, 2013, which they referred to as a closing statement. The matter was taken under advisement on June 19, 2013.
Testimony at trial for Plaintiffs was given by William Crum (Plaintiff), Cynthia Crum (Plaintiff) and Linda LaFerrier (neighbor). Defendants did not present any witnesses. Nine exhibits were submitted into evidence. A decision of todays date (the Decision) has been issued.
In accordance with the Decision, it is:
ORDERED and ADJUDGED that Plaintiffs have shown continuous use of the ROW for a period in excess of twenty years.
ORDERED and ADJUDGED that Plaintiffs have shown actual use of the ROW for a period in excess of twenty years.
ORDERED and ADJUDGED that Plaintiffs use of the ROW was open and notorious for a period in excess of twenty years.
ORDERED and ADJUDGED that Plaintiffs use of the ROW was exclusive for a period in excess of twenty years.
ORDERED and ADJUDGED that Plaintiffs use of the ROW was adverse and nonpermissive for a period in excess of twenty years.
ORDERED and ADJUDGED that Plaintiffs have established adverse possession to the entire ROW.
ORDERED and ADJUDGED that the parties shall jointly prepare a recordable plan of the area obtained by adverse possession, consistent with the above, showing ownership by the Plaintiffs of the ROW and shall record such plan within forty-five (45) days from the date of this decision. The costs of preparing and recording such plan shall be shared equally by the parties. The parties shall notify this court (Jennifer Masello, Sessions Clerk), in writing, when such plan is recorded.
[Note 1] Plaintiffs filed an Amended Complaint on August 20, 2012, adding Norman B. Keddy Construction Co., Inc. (Keddy) as a Defendant.
[Note 2] The affidavits were from Raymond Keddy and Donald Benoit.