Huck v. Ken's House LLC

Citation2022 UT App 64
Decision Date12 May 2022
Docket Number20210122-CA
PartiesRainer Huck, Appellant, v. Ken's House LLC, Appellee.
CourtCourt of Appeals of Utah

2022 UT App 64

Rainer Huck, Appellant,
Ken's House LLC, Appellee.

No. 20210122-CA

Court of Appeals of Utah

May 12, 2022

Third District Court, West Jordan Department The Honorable Kristine Johnson No. 180901341

W. Matthew Schiffgen, Attorney for Appellant

Eric P. Lee and Matthew J. Pugh, Attorneys for Appellee

Judge Ryan M. Harris authored this Opinion, in which Judges Jill M. Pohlman and Ryan D. Tenney concurred.



¶1 This case involves a dispute between neighbors over ownership of a narrow strip of land along the border between their respective properties. Ken's House LLC (Ken's House) is the record owner of the strip of land; Rainer Huck claims to have acquired the strip through operation of the legal doctrine known as boundary by acquiescence. After a bench trial, the trial court sided with Ken's House and rejected Huck's claims of quiet title and trespass. Huck now appeals, and we affirm.



¶2 In April 2012, Huck bought a parcel of real property (the Huck Property) located on one of the "avenues" in the Avenues neighborhood of Salt Lake City. On the parcel was an existing building containing several apartments. From approximately 1972 to 2012, the Huck Property was controlled-through various business entities-by one family. When Huck's predecessors in interest acquired the Huck Property, a portion of the property's western boundary was marked by a fence-described as a "pig-wire fence"-running in a north-south direction. The fence was located approximately nine feet to the west of the apartment building. The wire fence did not run the entire length of the property, however; the southwestern corner of the Huck Property was covered in overgrown trees and brush, and no fence existed in this area. Over the years, the fence fell into a state of disrepair, with its wire being described as "trampled down" to the point where there remained only mere "remnants" of a fence.

¶3 The Huck Property sits next to a corner lot, and the property's western boundary abuts three separate parcels that front one of the perpendicular "streets" in the Avenues neighborhood. In 2016, Ken's House acquired the corner lot (the Ken's House Property), which abuts the southwestern portion of the Huck Property. Shortly after acquiring the property, Ken's House set about making renovations, including construction of a detached two-car garage.

¶4 As part of those renovations, Ken's House commissioned a survey, which indicated that the actual boundary between the


Huck Property and its neighbors to the west was approximately two-and-a-half feet farther east than where the fence remnants were located. Part of the new garage was to be built within the two-and-a-half-foot wide strip of land-along the Ken's House- Huck property boundary-located between the surveyed property line and the line indicated by the fence remnants (the Disputed Strip). Prior to beginning construction of the garage, Ken's House received permission from city planners for the garage to be built within seven-and-a-half feet of the apartment building on the Huck Property, which was an exception to the city's otherwise-applicable ten-foot setback requirement. As part of the approval process, a public meeting was held to discuss, among other things, the proposed setback variance, and notice of that meeting was sent to residents of the neighborhood. Huck did not attend this meeting, and he did not lodge any objection-on any basis, whether oral or written-to Ken's House receiving a variance to the setback requirement, including any objection on the basis that he owned the Disputed Strip.[2] After receiving approval for the variance, Ken's House completed construction of the garage, in the location it anticipated, near the end of 2018.

¶5 Huck subsequently sued Ken's House, seeking to quiet title, in his favor, to the Disputed Strip through operation of boundary by acquiescence; he also asserted that the contractors building the garage had trespassed on his land during construction. The case proceeded to a two-day bench trial.


¶6 At trial, Huck called various witnesses, including an individual (Property Manager) who had helped manage and maintain the apartment building prior to (and, in a limited capacity...

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