December 20, 2011
Utah Supreme Court affirms trial court in a boundary by acquiescence case for client represented by Bob Janicki, Burt Ringwood, and Lance Locke. Burden of proof for boundary by acquiescence changed by Utah Supreme Court. Essential Botanical Farms, LC v. Kay, 2011 UT 71.
Strong and Hanni attorneys Bob Janicki, Burt Ringwood, and Lance Locke represented the appellee in a real property dispute involving a claim for boundary by acquiescence against a neighboring property owner.
At the trial level, Strong & Hanni’s client prevailed on summary judgment on the grounds that title to the disputed real property had vested in the predecessor owners of real property which was subsequently purchased by Strong & Hanni’s client. The trial judge granted summary judgment, finding that a boundary by acquiescence had been proven as a matter of law. In its summary judgment ruling, the trial court noted that it believed the applicable standard of proof in boundary by acquiescence actions was the preponderance of the evidence standard, but the trial court also noted that, analyzing the evidence under the higher clear and convincing standard of proof, a boundary by acquiescence had been established by clear and convincing evidence.
On appeal, the Utah Supreme Court for the first time held that the standard of proof in boundary by acquiescence cases is clear and convincing evidence rather than the preponderance of the evidence standard. Applying the clear and convincing evidence standard of proof, the Utah Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s summary judgment ruling in favor of Strong & Hanni’s client, holding that a boundary by acquiescence had been proven by clear and convincing evidence.