April 7, 2020

Mehdizadeh v. Mincer | Case Brief - 54 Cal.Rptr.2d 286 - California Court of Appeals, 2nd District, Division 3

FACTS: Cruz owned some property and erected a fence between it and the property next to it. The next door neighbors, the Weissmans, at the time agreed to pay half the costs of installing the fence. Cruz then sold the property to the Mincers who from the plot maps knew that the fence was not on the legal boundary. The Weissmans went on to sell the house to the Mehdizadehs.

Later in 1990 the Mincers commissioned a survey to be down and it was discovered that the fence was located ten feet down-slope from where it should be.

The Mehdizadehs did not dispute the survey and the Mincers went on to install a second fence at the proper location. The property in dispute is the area between the two fences.

HISTORY: The trial court found that Mehdizadeh should obtain title to the land and have a prescriptive easement.

ISSUE: Did the trial court erroneously impose an agreed boundary and erroneously grant Mehdizadeh a prescriptive easement?

HOLDING: Yes

RATIONALE: The agreed-boundary rule is an exception and the parties had to have had some uncertainty of the boundary when they entered upon the agreement. Both of them knew the fence was at the wrong place. Evidence is insufficient to support the agreed-boundary doctrine.

As for the prescriptive easement argument Mehdizadeh could not claim adverse possession b/c he did not pay taxes on the property. The prescriptive easement granted by the trail court blurred the lines between title to the property and specific use of the property. The given decision would divest the Mincers of nearly all their rights as owners of the property.

DISPOSITION: Judgement reversed. Cause remanded to the trail court with directions to vacate its judgement and to enter a new judgement in favor of the Mincers on their cross-complaint quieting title to the property. 

 Costs awarded to the Mincers.