Doctrine of Prescription California
The basis of that doctrine is " 'There can be no adverse holding of such land which will deprive the public of the right thereto, or give title to the adverse claimant, or create a title by virtue of the statute of limitations.
The rule is universal in its application to all property set apart or reserved for public use, and the public use for which it is appropriated is immaterial. . . . the public is not to lose its rights through the negligence of its agents, nor because it has not chosen to resist an encroachment by one of its own number, whose duty it was, as much as that of every other citizen, to protect the state in its rights.' " ( People v. Kerber (1908) 152 Cal. 731, 734 93 P. 878).
Since the purpose of the doctrine is to protect a public entity from loss of publicly owned rights through suffering an encroachment, it has no application to the loss of rights of an underlying private owner. (See, e.g., 3510).
Thus, in Abar v. Rogers (1972) 23 Cal. App. 3d 506 100 Cal. Rptr. 344, the court affirmed quiet title in adjoining landowners to land that had been dedicated to use as a public street during the period of prescription.
" 'To constitute adverse possession it is sufficient if the defendant in possession claims the right against all the world, except the' political entity holding the superior right or title. (McManus v. O'Sullivan (1874) 48 Cal. 7, 15).
Although we find no California application of this rule to the precise situation before us, elsewhere it has consistently been applied as against holders of the underlying private title to public streets and highways." (Abar, supra, at p. 513).