Acampora v. Pearson – Case Brief Summary (Rhode Island)

In Acampora v. Pearson, 899 A.2d 459 (R.I. 2006) the trial justice found that the physical boundary marked by a series of plantings-arborvitae and evergreens-was sufficiently obvious to place the defendants and their predecessors in title on notice of the claim that this natural boundary to which the defendants had acquiesced for more than ten years, constituted the accepted boundary between the two properties.

The Court cited to Pucino v. Uttley, 785 A.2d 183 (R.I. 2001), as standing for the proposition that acquiescence to an observable physical boundary line constitutes a recognized means by which a claimant can gain title to real estate encompassed by that boundary line, even though another party clearly possesses record title to the land. Id. at 186.

The claimant was awarded the disputed parcel at trial under the doctrine of acquiescence.

The Rhode Island Supreme Court affirmed, but held that the appropriate inquiry regarding the two-foot strip of land at issue was that of adverse possession rather than acquiescence. 899 A.2d at 464.

The Acompora court focused on the claimant's concession that she thought her property extended only a "couple of feet" past the evergreens, and held that she "acted under claim of right only with respect to an area a couple of feet beyond the evergreens." Id. at 467.