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Why McCarthy Law Office? When you need a lawyer, you need the best. For 25 years Scott McCarthy has helped people with family issues, litigate contract disputes, recover losses from injury and wrongful death and manage their mistakes. He is an experienced attorney who knows the system.  He has the passion, breadth of experience and knowledge, that gives his clients their best possible results. Scott has a reputation for sharp, honest evaluations, calling people back promptly, being on time to meetings and court appearances, meticulous preparation for trial and his desire to see their case through so his client's lives can continue on their best possible course forward.

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In 1995, Ray and Betty Harwick bought a piece of land. At the time they purchased the land, they knew their neighbor's garage was sitting partially on the land they purchased. Sometime later, the Harwicks wanted to put in a driveway that slightly encroached on their neighbor's land. The neighbor initially agreed and then later said no.

Mr. Harwick became upset and decided to put a fence up on his property line. The fence precluded his neighbor from using their garage. The neighbor tore down Mr. Harwick's fence and put up a fence of his own. Apparently, good fences do not necessarily make for good neighbors.

The Harwicks sued their neighbor asking the Court to delineate the lot line. The neighbor filed an answer in Court contending the land had become theirs through adverse possession.

A person can obtain land through adverse possession if they possess the land for twenty years in a hostile, open, notorious, exclusive and continuous manner. A number of witnesses were called to the stand.

The neighbor's witnesses testified that the land had been in the neighbor's family since 1914. The neighbor had mowed a 12-14 foot strip around the garage for most of that time. The neighbor also maintained a flower garden and lilac bush around the garage. The 12-14 foot strip and flower garden were actually on the Harwicks' land.

The Harwick's contended that from approximately 1990-1995, they had mowed around the garage and used that land for various purposes. It was apparently undisputed that between 1914 and 1990 the neighbor or his predecessors had mowed and maintained the 12 foot strip around the garage.

The Trial Court ruled that because the twenty-year time period did not include the five years prior to filing the Court action, there was no rightful claim to adverse possession. The neighbor appealed the matter to the Appellate Court. The Court of Appeals ruled that the twenty-year time period did not have to be the twenty years just prior to the filing of the Court action. The Court of Appeals said there was clearly a twenty-year period of time or more between 1914 and 1990 in which the neighbor adversely possessed the land. As a result, the neighbor won and the Harwicks lost the land around their neighbors' garage.