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Poullos v. Pine Crest Homes, LLC

Supreme Court of Nebraska

March 25, 2016

GEORGE POULLOS AND JODY POULLOS, APPELLEES,
v.
PINE CREST HOMES, LLC, A NEBRASKA LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY, APPELLANT

Page 357

Appeal from the District Court for Douglas County: TIMOTHY P. BURNS, Judge.

Jeffrey A. Nix, of Pansing, Hogan, Ernst & Bachman, L.L.P., for appellant.

James T. Boler, P.C., L.L.O., for appellees.

HEAVICAN, C.J., WRIGHT, CONNNNOLLY, MILLER-LERMAN, CASSEL, and STACY, JJ.

OPINION

Page 358

[293 Neb. 116] Stacy, J.

FACTS

In November 2001, George Poullos and Jody Poullos purchased a home and residential property on lot 368 in an Omaha, Nebraska, subdivision. When they purchased the home, it was fully completed; sod had been laid on the lot, an underground sprinkler system had been installed, and a sidewalk had been constructed. The Poulloses believed their property extended to the edge of the sod line--a line that was just outside the sprinkler system and perpendicular to the end of the sidewalk. From 2001 on, George continuously mowed, fertilized, and watered the sod. He also maintained the sprinkler system. In the winter, George cleared the sidewalk of snow.

At the time the Poulloses purchased and moved into their home, the property directly adjacent to the north, lot 367, was vacant. The vacant lot was generally covered with dirt and weeds. A photograph taken in about November 2001 shows a demarcation between the sod line and the vacant lot. Global positioning system photographs and other evidence admitted at trial generally demonstrated that the sod line demarcation continued over the ensuing 10 to 12 years, but became less even over time as the sod spread.

[293 Neb. 117] Lot 367 remained vacant until 2013, when Pine Crest Homes, LLC, began constructing a home. A survey revealed that a wedged-shaped section of land consisting of portions of the sod and sprinkler system maintained by the Poulloses was actually part of lot 367, not lot 368. The area in dispute is about 667 square feet of land.

In April 2013, the Poulloses filed a complaint for injunctive relief and to quiet title. They attempted to stop the construction of the home on lot 367 and asked that title to the wedge-shaped section of land in dispute be quieted in them based on the theory of adverse possession. The district court denied injunctive relief but, after conducting a bench trial, found the Poulloses had established all of the elements of adverse possession and quieted title to the disputed land in their favor. Pine Crest Homes timely filed this appeal, and we moved the case to our docket on our own motion pursuant to our statutory authority to regulate the caseloads of the appellate courts of this state.[1] For the reasons discussed below, we reverse, and remand with directions to enter judgment for Pine Crest Homes.

ASSIGNMENTS OF ERROR

Pine Crest Homes assigns, restated, that (1) the district court erred in finding the Poulloses had established all the elements of adverse possession and (2) the legal description of the disputed property offered by the ...


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