If you are having a problem with a neighbor about a certain piece of land, the situation is likely to reach a stalemate. Luckily, legal land disputes are common-place and reliably handled by experienced attorneys.
Before engaging in a land dispute, it is important to know beforehand whether the disputed piece of property at issue is even under a court’s authority to resolve, or what is referred to in legalese as a Court’s jurisdiction.
One requirement in Alabama court’s is that the land of the landowners must be adjacent to each other. For instance, a landowner in Birmingham does not have the right to sue an individual in Huntsville disputing the Huntsville individual’s property line. Courts will only evaluate property disputes between adjacent neighbor.
In Alabama Power Company v. Ray Keller, the problem involved a boundary dispute between a landowner and Alabama Power. At trial, the jury found that Mr. Keller’s description of his property line was the proper reading. Alabama Power appealed, and the Alabama Supreme Court affirmed only part of the decision.
The Supreme Court held that the trial court was correct in finding that Mr. Keller’s description of the border line was correct in regard to land that was adjacent/coterminous to Alabama Power’s land. However, the Supreme Court voided the trial court’s finding about Mr. Keller’s property regarding land that was not adjacent/coterminous between Mr. Keller and Alabama Power.
In Alabama land dispute, parties to a boundary line dispute must be coterminous owners. In other words, one landowner’s land must be adjacent/touch the land of the other landowner. If the two parties are not coterminous land owners, then courts are without jurisdiction, i.e. authority, to resolve the problem. And if a certain part of a landowner’s property is not adjacent to the other’s property, then a court is without jurisdiction to make a finding on that certain part of property.
In this case, the trial court came to a decision regarding a certain part of property that was owned by Mr. Keller which did not touch Alabama Power’s land. As such, the Alabama Supreme Court noted that the trial court was without authority to rule on it and voided their findings regarding the non-adjacent land. The Court upheld the trial court’s findings concerning land that was adjacent between Mr. Keller and Alabama Power.
The lesson to take away is that it is important to be aware of what type of property a Court has authority to rule on before entering a legal dispute. In this case, some time, money, and effort may have been saved if the parties had known what plots of property were under the trial court authority.
Having an experienced real estate attorney on your side can be very important. If you are involved in a land dispute case, contact, INGRAM LAW LLC at (205) 335-2640. Get Relief | Get Results.