August 14, 2017
Merryn DeBenedetti and Marina Visan of Carson Noel PLLC won a decisive victory in Division I of the Washington State Court of Appeals on Monday, August 14, 2017. In a quiet title/adverse possession case, the trial court had granted summary judgment in favor of the adverse possessors, ruling that offers to purchase the disputed portion of the property and executing a license to use the disputed portion of the property after the time period for adverse possession had run were “inadmissible ER 408 offers to compromise” a dispute. Carson Noel’s client, Buchanan, appealed. In its decision, the Court of Appeals disagreed, stating that offers to purchase property and the execution of a license to use it – made several years before the litigation began – were not inadmissible offers to compromise under Washington law. In addition to the admissibility issue, the Court further added that genuine issues of material fact existed, stating, “[a] rational trier of fact might find that offering to purchase the disputed area and executing a document accepting permission … to use the disputed area, is proof that the Grays recognized Buchanan as the owner of the disputed area. That recognition is inconsistent with the Grays’ assertion to have acted as true owners of the disputed area as against the world.”
The case is Buchanan v. Gray, Case No. 75150-6-1 (August 14, 2017).