Lawrence v. Concord Town essay


Lawrencev. Concord Town

Lawrencev. Concord Town


HelenFrazier inherited a property from her mother which was to bepossessed by the Concord Town if she died before it was an issue. Herhusband, Joseph Frazier occupied the property after her death beforethe issue. He then devised the property to Albert Lawrence(plaintiff). Lawrence argued that Frazier acquired the propertythrough adverse possession and therefore claimed ownership of theproperty. However, the town acquired the land through eminent domainand refused to pay Lawrence any damages.

Theprocedural history

Lawrencesued the town in order to be paid damages. In the trial court, thetown was granted the motion for summary judgment and ruled that therewas no adverse possession. This is because the town was not awarethat it owned the property. The court of appeal established thatthere were no grounds to argue that Frazier had adverse possession ofthe property. Lawrence sought the view of the state supreme court.


Theissue in front of the court was whether adverse possession principleapplies in cases where the parties do not have a notice of interestin the property.


No.the principle of adverse possession does not apply if the parties areignorant about their interests in the property.


Thedefendant argued that it was not aware of the fact that it owned theproperty and therefore Frazer could not have acquired the propertythrough adverse possession. This meant that the ownership by Frazerwas not “open and notorious”. However, the principle of adversepossession does not relate to the knowledge of the owner aboutownership but his or her knowledge about adverse possession. Frazierdid not have a responsibility of notifying the defendant who owns theproperty. The use of the property was open and he acted as the trueowner of the property for a statutory period. As a result, theSupreme Court ruled in favor of Lawrence and awarded him damages.


Lawrencev. Concord, 439 Mass. at 421.