Tioga Coal Co. v. Supermarkets Gen. Corp.

519 Pa. 66, 546 A.2d 1 (1988)

 

RULE:

If a true owner has not ejected the interloper within the time allotted for an action in ejectment, and all other elements of adverse possession have been established, hostility will be implied, regardless of the subjective state of mind of the trespasser. 

FACTS:
 
Appellant coal company challenged the appellate court decision which affirmed the trial court's holding that appellant's use of a street was not hostile or adverse to the true owner, appellee supermarket, as required to perfect its claim of adverse possession. The appellate court required proof of appellant's objective hostility toward the true owner of the street, which was lacking because appellant believed that the city owned the street. Appellant claimed that its taking and use of the street in excess of the statutory period was sufficiently hostile. The court agreed and reversed judgment.
 
ISSUE:

Did the trial court err in its consideration of the question of the hostility required to perfect a claim of adverse possession?.

ANSWER:

Yes.

CONCLUSION:
Where the true owner did not eject an interloper from its property during the time allotted for an action in ejectment, and all other elements of adverse possession were met, then hostility was implied, regardless of the trespasser's subjective state of mind. The court further held that the trial court's findings that the other requirements of adverse possession had been met would not be disturbed. 
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