Court Rules Adverse Possessor’s Actual Knowledge of True Owner Does Not Preclude Successful Adverse Possession Claim

Actual knowledge that another person is the title owner does not alone defeat an adverse possessor’s claim. In Walling v. Przybylo the Court of Appeals affirmed an order granting summary judgment in favor of plaintiff-adverse possessors.

Plaintiff Walling commenced an action to quiet title upon learning that defendant Przybylo had the land surveyed and Przybylo had discovered that he had title to the disputed parcel. The county court granted plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment finding that Walling had satisfied the requirements of adverse possession. In affirming the lower court’s finding of adverse possession, the Court of Appeals noted that defendants did not seek to assert their rights to the disputed parcel until almost fifteen years after they had purchased the property. The Court rejected the claim by defendants that plaintiffs’ knowledge of defendants’ ownership of the disputed parcel barred the adverse possession claim since plaintiffs otherwise met the criteria necessary to prove adverse possession,