Peters v. Juneau--Douglas Girl Scout Council

519 P.2d 826 (Alaska 1974)



From the standpoint of the true owner, the purpose of the various requirements of adverse possession, that the nonpermissive use be actual, open, notorious, continuous, exclusive and hostile, is to put him on notice of the hostile nature of the possession so that he, the owner, may take steps to vindicate his rights by legal action. Where the user has acted, without permission of the true owner, in a manner inconsistent with the true owner's rights, the acts alone, without any explicit claim of right or intent to dispossess, may be sufficient to put the true owner on notice of the nonpermissive use.


A claimant sought action to establish title to certain property by adverse possession. The trial court found that the claimant had satisfactorily shown that his use of the land was continuous, open and notorious for the statutory period, but that he had failed to prove that his use of the property was exclusive or that his possession was hostile. Thus, entered judgment in favour of the landowner.


Did the claimant establish adverse possession?




The court found that the claimant's use of the property was sufficiently exclusive to satisfy the requirements of adverse possession. There was no indication that the claimant and his family shared possession with anyone else and all the improvements to the property were made by the claimant or his relatives. The court concluded that the claimant's use of the property in question was exclusive and not in common with the public generally and that occasional clam diggers could not destroy the exclusive character of the claimant's use. The court was satisfied that the claimant acted toward the land in question as would an owner, taking into account the geophysical nature of the land and the reasonable uses for which it was suitable. The claimant's use neither originated nor continued under consent of the landowner.

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