Zeisler Corp. v. Page

Decision Date02 June 1964
Citation128 N.W.2d 414,24 Wis.2d 190
PartiesZEISLER CORPORATION, Respondent, v. Luella PAGE, Appellant.
CourtWisconsin Supreme Court

Hale, Skemp, Hanson, Schnurrer & Skemp, La Crosse, for appellant.

William J. Sauer, La Crosse, for respondent.

GORDON, Justice.

As a defense to this action to quiet title, the defendant attempted to show that she was the owner of at least a portion of the disputed property under a deed of conveyance. She also defended on the ground that she held that same portion of the property under color of title for ten years or more within the meaning of secs. 330.06 and 330.07, Stats. Further, she urged that she was entitled to the property by reason of her adverse possession for twenty years or more within the meaning of secs. 330.08 and 330.09.

We find no difficulty in supporting the trial judge's interpretation of the defendant's deed as failing to give her record title to the disputed area. The defendant holds title to certain lands in the vicinity of the 'accretion area,' and she disputes the trial court's finding which established the southern boundary of the defendant's property as 119.89 feet south of the south line of Gillett street. Upon the evidence before the trial court, we deem the southern boundary to have been properly determined. Such determination is consistent with the two deeds under which the parties claim record title.

Because of the ambiguity in the defendant's deed, it is arguable that the defendant was justified in attempting to come within secs. 330.06 and 330.07, Stats., so as to claim a holding under color of title for ten years or more. However, in any event, the real thrust of the defendant's claim rests upon purported adverse possession whether the period involved is ten or twenty years.

The disputed area was created primarily through fill having been deposited there from approximately 1928 until 1957. Mrs. Page's husband had been in the contracting business, and he had deposited considerable fill in the 'accretion area.' The Pages had also invited others to make deposits of fill there.

The defendant urges that her use of such filled-in area qualified as adverse possession. There was testimony to the effect that the defendant cultivated the area by pulling weeds and cutting willows for firewood. She also caused it to be used as a playground for children. On the riverbank Mrs. Page established a dock, which the trial judge observed was merely a wooden structure floating on barrels. For a time a garden was maintained there by the defendant. Although they were not in existence at the time of the trial, it was contended by the defendant that several buildings had been erected or moved onto the land in question, and at times from 1928 these dwellings were rented to various tenants.

There was evidence that the plaintiff's lessee, who operated a supper club on the plaintiff's property, entered into a rental agreement with the defendant which entitled said lessee to traverse the disputed area in order to have access to the water-front. In addition, certain receipts for property taxes paid by the defendant were placed into evidence. This, too, is urged as proof of her adverse possession.

The defendant further supports her contention that she had gained adverse possession of this property by pointing out that when the city of La Crosse desired to dredge the Black river for the purpose of establishing a municipal bathing beach in 1946 and the city realized that the construction would cause sand to spill over onto the disputed area, the city secured the consent of the defendant's mother for such intrusion.

The contention is also made that Mr. Zeisler, on behalf of the plaintiff, wrote a letter which conceded the defendant's title to the disputed land. Mrs. Page stresses the fact that the letter contained the following sentence:

'One of the stockholders of the Zeisler Corp. suggested that we sell the west one hundred feet of our land between Gillette and Iron Streets which is east of your land.'

The trial court carefully reviewed the foregoing evidence and concluded that it did not establish adverse possession. With reference to the dumping, the court concluded that the public in general regarded it as a dumping ground and that the defendant's use was not exclusive. Although there were taxes paid by Mrs. Page, buildings erected by her and property rented out by her, the trial court was not convinced that these incidents actually related to the disputed property. He also found vagueness and indefiniteness with respect to the maintenance of the garden and the other physical uses which the defendant claims to have made of the property.

In summary, the trial court concluded that such use as the defendant made of the property was neither precise, continuous nor significant. See Seybold v. Burke (1961), 14 Wis.2d 397, 404, 406, 111 N.W.2d 143; ...

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15 cases
  • Perpignani v. Vonasek
    • United States
    • Wisconsin Supreme Court
    • June 17, 1987
    ...180 N.W. 334, 181 N.W. 812 (1971); Illinois Steel Co. v. Budzisz, 106 Wis. 499, 81 N.W. 1027, 82 N.W. 534 (1900); Zeisler Corp. v. Page, 24 Wis.2d 190, 128 N.W.2d 414 (1964). In the instant case, the Brekkes have shown that they claimed title to land conveyed in the Pieper deed, and claim t......
  • Kees v. N. States Power Co.
    • United States
    • Wisconsin Court of Appeals
    • May 14, 2013
    ...and flower cultivation. These are “sporadic occurrences” that do not establish exclusive possession. See Zeisler Corp. v. Page, 24 Wis.2d 190, 196–98, 128 N.W.2d 414 (1964) (use of area as playground for children, maintenance of a garden, and placement of a makeshift dock insufficient evide......
  • Chicago & N.W.R.R. v. Labor and Industry Review Commission, 78-416
    • United States
    • Wisconsin Court of Appeals
    • August 16, 1979
    ...judgment of the circuit court. An appeal from a judgment does not embrace an order entered after the judgment. Zeisler Corp. v. Page, 24 Wis.2d 190, 199, 128 N.W.2d 414 (1964), citing Schlichting v. Schlichting, 15 Wis.2d 147, 160, 112 N.W.2d 149 (1961). The post-judgment order of the circu......
  • Kruse v. Horlamus Industries, Inc.
    • United States
    • Wisconsin Supreme Court
    • May 16, 1986
    ...of possession must be clear and positive and must be strictly construed against the claimant." See also, Zeisler Corp. v. Page, 24 Wis.2d 190, 198, 128 N.W.2d 414 (1964); Bank of Eagle v. Pentland, 197 Wis. 40, 42, 221 N.W. 383 (1928). Nor is Wisconsin the only jurisdiction to use the phras......
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