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Firm obtains judgment defeating adverse possession claim

Megan Deluhery and Matt Furman obtained a defense judgment following a bench trial dismissing an adverse possession claim as to one of two lots of commercial property owned by the firm’s client in Tewksbury, Mass.

The plaintiff previously owned the full parcel adjoining the client’s property, but conveyed the parcel to a condominium in 2004 – in the midst of the 20-year adverse possession period – retaining ownership of one of two units (buildings) on the parcel and a corresponding percentage interest in the common area.

A Massachusetts Superior Court judge ruled that under Massachusetts statutory law only the condominium association had the authority to pursue a claim for adding property to the common areas.

The judge also determined that by law the unit owner could not seek to add the 3,130 square foot strip of land to his individual unit without the consent of the other unit owner, which consent was absent in the case.  The plaintiff also could not seek to tack on open and notorious acts of possession of the disputed parcel from prior to the creation of the condominium in 2004 – necessary to meet the 20-year period – as any tacking rights were conveyed to the condominium when it was created.

In addition to dismissing the adverse possession claim, the judge entered a judgment confirming that title, use, and occupancy rights in the disputed parcel rest entirely with the firm’s client.