Friday, March 23, 2012

Nome 2000 v. Fagerstrom case brief

Nome 2000 v. Fagerstrom case brief summary
799 P.2d 304 (Alaska 1990)

Appellant title holder sought review of a judgment from the Superior Court for the State of Alaska, Second Judicial District, which denied its motion for a directed verdict. The title holder contested the sufficiency of the evidence in support of the jury verdict in favor of appellee adverse possessors in a dispute over a parcel of land.


The title holder filed suit to eject the adverse possessors from the disputed parcel. The adverse possessors counterclaimed that through their use of the parcel they had acquired title by adverse possession. A jury trial ensued and at the close of the adverse possessors' case, the title holder moved for a directed verdict. The trial court denied the motion. The jury found that the adverse possessors had adversely possessed the entire parcel and the trial court entered judgment in their favor. 


  • The title holder appealed and the court reversed in part and held that the trial court erred in its denial of the title holder's motion for a directed verdict as to the southerly portion. 
  • The court remanded and held that the jury could have reasonably concluded that the adverse possessors established, by clear and convincing evidence, continuous, notorious, and exclusive possession for 10 years prior to the date the title holder filed suit. 
  • The adverse possessors were not entitled to the entire disputed parcel because their use of the southerly portion of the disputed parcel did not provide a reasonably diligent owner with visible evidence of their exercise of dominion and control.

The court reversed the part of the trial court's judgment that denied the record title holders motion for a directed verdict as to the southerly portion of the disputed parcel and affirmed the remainder of the judgment. The court remanded to the trial court, with instructions to determine the extent of the adverse possessors' acquisition.

-Ds (Charles and Peggy) used a parcel of land owned by P (Nome) for various purposes from 1944-1987 but did not build a house on it until 1978. Nome tried to argue that since the home was only on the land for 9 years could not meet adverse possession.

Rule: Whether a claimant’s physical acts upon the land of another are sufficiently continuous, notorious, and exclusive does not necessarily depend on the existence of significant improvements, substantial activity, or absolute exclusivity.
Hostility has nothing to do with possessor’s belief or intent, but rather whether the possessor acts toward the land as if he were the owner.
Use consistent with the use by a similarly situated owner is sufficient to est. a claim by adverse possession.

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