Martin v. Hobbs

Decision Date01 June 1954
Docket NumberNo. 32678,32678
Citation44 Wn.2d 787,270 P.2d 1067
PartiesMARTIN et ux. v. HOBBS et al.
CourtWashington Supreme Court

Catleyt, Hartman & Jarvis, Seattle, for appellants.

Graham, Greene, Howe & Dunn, Seattle, for respondents.

WEAVER, Justice.

The ownership of a narrow strip of land is disputed. The lawsuit is described, in the brief of one of the parties to this action, as follows:

'This case involves one of the too frequent disputes between adjoining owners of real estate. Whether the time, cost and effort is justified is only for the litigants to determine, but both will never be satisfied until it is finally determined and then one side only.'

For the purpose of illustration, we will describe the disputed strip of land as a quadrilateral, approximately 1 foot wide at the east end, 170 feet long, and 2 feet wide at the west end. The following is a more accurate description. The northeast corner is 0.833 feet north and 1.486 feet west of the southeast corner. The north boundary (to which we will refer as the 'Rutherford line') is 174.635 feet long. Its bearing is either north 88~53'43'' west, or north 89~01'47'' west. The south boundary (the 'Morford line') is 168.61 feet long and bears north 89~17'12'' west. The northwest corner is approximately 2 feet north of the southwest corner. The west line of the quadrilateral is on the concrete bulkhead which runs approximately north and south, some distance east of the meander line, but is not the west line of the tracts.

Between 1926 and 1929, B. F. Pearce acquired title to lots 11, 12, and 13 of amended re-plat of a portion of Spring Hill Villa tracts, King county, Washington. Lot 11 is to the north. The lots are 110 feet between their north and south boundaries. At various times, Mr. Pearce acquired the tide lands which border the lots on the west. Beach drive is the eastern boundary of the lots.

On September 24, 1941, Mr. Pearce conveyed the north 105 feet of tract 11 to C. E. Philp. At that time, a hedge, stairway, wooden fence, and a return wall running easterly from a bulkhead which extends north and south in the west end of the south 105 feet of lot 11, were in existence. An old, open-front, wooden garage was on lot 12 and the south portion of lot 11. Generally, the hedge, fence, and return wall were along the north line (Rutherford line) of the quadrilateral we have described.

October 13, 1942, Mr. Pearce conveyed the south 5 feet of tract 11, tract 12, and tract 13, except the south 18 feet, to Mr. and Mrs. Martin, plaintiffs and appellants. Nine cottages facing Puget Sound are on the property.

July 29, 1946, Mr. Philp and wife deeded the north 105 feet of tract 11 to Mr. and Mrs. Hobbs, defendants and respondents. Carl E. Morford, a licensed engineer and land surveyor, surveyed the property for the Hobbs and established the north and south boundaries of their property. The south boundary, as established by him, is the south line (Morford line) of the quadrilateral we have described. Mr. Hobbs examined the results of the survey before completing the purchase.

This action arose when defendants Hobbs started to erect a fence along the western end of the Morford line, within a few inches of the northernmost cottage on plaintiffs' property. If extended eastward, it would have cut through a small portion of the northwest corner of the open-front, wooden garage (which the parties admit is over thirty years old) on the Martin property.

May 11, 1950, the Martins had their property surveyed by H. W. Rutherford, a licensed engineer and land surveyor. He established the dividing line between the properties as the north line of the quadrilateral we have described.

Only two minor man-made encroachments are on the disputed strip: (a) a bulkhead, on the west portion of plaintiffs' lots, which extends a few feet north of the Morford line where it joins the south end of defendants' bulkhead; and (2) a small portion of the northwest corner of the open-front, wooden garage which lies between the Rutherford and Morford lines.

We have but sketched the mass of facts appearing in two volumes of testimony and fifty-nine exhibits of maps, deeds, title policies, charts, and photographs. Our delineation of the facts however, is sufficient to present the questions of law raised on this appeal.

Plaintiffs appeal from a decree (a) establishing the Morford line as the true boundary between the properties of the parties; (b) quieting defendants' title to the Morford line; and (c) ordering plaintiffs, within ninety days after defendants, or their successors in interest, give written notice, to remove that portion of the openfront, wooden garage which extends over the true legal boundary line. The decree does not mention the bulkhead encroachment. It is apparent that the encroaching bulkhead is necessary for the protection of both properties.

Twenty of appellants' twenty-four assignments of error are argued under the heading, 'Where is the boundary line between the Hobbs and Martin properties?'

Appellants urge that the location of the boundary line by a common grantor is binding upon the grantees and their successors in interest. Atwell v. Olson, 1948, 30 Wash.2d 179, 190 P.2d 783; Strom v. Arcorace, 1947, 27 Wash.2d 478, 178 P.2d 959; ...

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  • Pendergrast v. Matichuk
    • United States
    • Washington Supreme Court
    • 15 Septiembre 2016
    ...; Windsor v. Bourcier, 21 Wash.2d 313, 150 P.2d 717 (1944) ; Angell v. Hadley , 33 Wash.2d 837, 207 P.2d 191 (1949) ; Martin v. Hobbs, 44 Wash.2d 787, 270 P.2d 1067 (1954). But we find nothing in our case law that holds such evidence is necessary. Instead, in several cases, a boundary by co......
  • Pendergrast v. Matichuk, 71726-0-I
    • United States
    • Washington Court of Appeals
    • 31 Agosto 2015
    ...545 P.2d 1230 (1976); Thompson, 28 Wn.2d at 592. 12. Fralick, 22 Wn. App. at 160. 13. Winans, 35 Wn. App. at 241. 14. See Martin v. Hobbs, 44 Wn.2d 787, 791, 270 P.2d 1067 (1954). 15. 35 Wn. App. 238, 241, 666 P.2d 908 (1983) (citing Thompson, 28 Wn.2d at 592). 16. Winans, 35 Wn. App. at 24......
  • Pendergrast v. Matichuk
    • United States
    • Washington Court of Appeals
    • 31 Agosto 2015
    ...592, 183 P.2d 785.12 Fralick, 22 Wash.App. at 160, 589 P.2d 273.13 Winans, 35 Wash.App. at 241, 666 P.2d 908.14 See Martin v. Hobbs, 44 Wash.2d 787, 791, 270 P.2d 1067 (1954).15 35 Wash.App. 238, 241, 666 P.2d 908 (1983) (citing Thompson, 28 Wash.2d at 592, 183 P.2d 785 ).16 Winans, 35 Wash......
  • Vance v. Massey, No. 32608-6-II (WA 2/14/2006)
    • United States
    • Washington Supreme Court
    • 14 Febrero 2006
    ...what burden a plaintiff bears under the common grantor doctrine. The closest case addressing the issue is Martin v. Hobbs, 44 Wn.2d 787, 790-791, 270 P.2d 1067 (1954). The court there quoted the trial court's reasoning that `the fair preponderance of the evidence makes it more reasonable to......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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