Why Even Simple Stone Walls Can Be Legal Boundaries Between Properties

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on February 5, 2014

Forget fences, people – try stone walls, actual giant pieces of rock practically splitting two properties apart to the point where there’s absolutely no confusion as to where a boundary lies. Take the case of Morabit vs. Hoag, for instance. Between these two individuals, there existed a stone wall demarcating the actual boundary between those properties. Here’s where the issue comes to a head:stonewall

Apparently, parts of the stone wall were literally pulverized to pieces, leaving rocks everywhere – and more importantly, a number of trees off of the plaintiff’s property removed completely. In other words, we’re looking at property theft. Plaintiff saw a real problem there, seeking to recover any damages from the defendant due to the unauthorized removal of his trees and, of course, the destruction of the stone wall. Of course, it would stand to reason that a simple stone wall, while sitting in between the properties, could show that there is a boundary. But what if it vanished?

There was no specific evidence detailing how the stone wall was damaged, and without a doubt due to a lot of the property planning involved, it seemed to be clearly evident that the trees didn’t necessarily belong to the plaintiff. That became obviously clear when the trial court granted their opinion in favor of the defendant, much to the dismay of the plaintiff, who then approached the Supreme Court for further relief in the matter.

Expert testimony rules here: historic stone walls are one of the final words in boundaries. They clearly divide the spaces legally. The Supreme Court found error in the trial court’s judgment due to the exclusion of expert testimony about historic stone walls. Reversal of the decision was imperative.

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