Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Daughtridge v. Tanager Land, LLC

Supreme Court of North Carolina

December 6, 2019


          Heard in the Supreme Court on 13 May 2019

         On discretionary review pursuant to N.C. G.S. § 7A-31 of a divided, unpublished decision of the Court of Appeals, No. COA17-554, 2018 WL 3977990 ( N.C. Ct. App. August 21, 2018), that affirmed an order granting summary judgment entered on 30 November 2016 by Judge Beecher R. Gray and a final judgment and assessment of costs entered on 8 February 2017 by Judge Marvin K. Blount, III, both in Superior Court, Halifax County. Heard in the Supreme Court on 13 May 2019 in session in the Halifax County Courthouse in the Town of Halifax pursuant to section 18B.8 of Chapter 57 of the 2017 Session Laws of the State of North Carolina.

          Boxley, Bolton, Garber & Haywood, L.L.P., by Ronald H. Garber, for plaintiff-appellants.

          Charles S. Rountree, III for defendant-appellee.

          NEWBY, JUSTICE

         This land dispute presents the question of whether a court should decide the intent of the parties as a matter of law when the conveyances only reference lot numbers on a recorded map and where the disputed property line as shown on the map is ambiguous. Under these circumstances, the intent of the parties concerning the boundary line is a question of fact to be determined by a jury. Because we hold there is a genuine issue of material fact as to the intended boundary, we reverse the decision of the Court of Appeals that affirmed summary judgment and other relief granted by the trial court.[1]

         After acquiring a large tract of land in 1916, L.B. Fleming subdivided it into seventeen numbered lots and filed a map, the Best Farm Map ("the map"), in Plat Book 1, Page 32 in the Halifax County Registry, shown in full below.

         (Image Omitted)

         Eight of the lots have as their eastern boundaries a hypothetical line in White's Mill Pond Run (the mill pond). Only the southern boundary of Lot 8, however, does not have a metes and bounds description to the hypothetical eastern line terminating in the mill pond. Shortly after recording the map, Fleming deeded plaintiffs' predecessor in title Lots 7 and 16 and defendant's predecessor in title Lot 8. The conveyances described the land using lot numbers as being the lots as shown on the recorded map; the respective deeds do not include metes and bounds descriptions. The map shows the dividing boundary between Lot 16 and Lot 8 to be along or near the high water line of an inlet of the mill pond. The map shows the mill pond without metes and bounds. Plaintiff alleges the high water line has always been recognized as the boundary, allowing plaintiffs to have water access and a boat ramp.

         There was no dispute as to the property line until 2008 when, before acquiring Lot 8, defendant requested a survey. That survey purports to place a sliver of land along the southern shore of the pond inlet within Lot 8. The contested property is land lying between the high water line and the center of an earthen dam, extending along a portion of the shoreline ("the contested property"). Again, only by reference to a recorded map, this time the 2008 map, defendant took ownership of Lot 8, [2] claiming the contested property. After the purchase was completed, defendant installed a gate and posts on land that plaintiffs believed to be their land, eliminating plaintiffs' access to the mill pond.

         On 17 November 2015, plaintiffs filed their complaint in Superior Court, Halifax County, seeking a declaratory judgment and to quiet title, and filed a notice of lis pendens with the Register of Deeds on that same day. Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint on 26 February 2016. Plaintiffs' amended complaint described the portion of land at issue and defendant's alleged encroachments upon plaintiffs' land. Plaintiffs sought a declaratory judgment that the disputed land lies within the boundary of Lot 16, that the title be quieted, and that defendant's encroachments be removed. Defendants answered claiming the disputed land to be within its boundary.

         On 5 October 2016, defendant moved to dismiss plaintiffs' action to quiet title and enter summary judgment for defendant, to strike the notice of lis pendens, and to award defendant costs and attorney fees. Plaintiffs responded to defendant's motion and attached surveys, affidavits, land leases, and depositions. Plaintiffs included an affidavit from surveyor Michael Stahl and an accompanying property line survey dated 20 July 2015. Plaintiffs' evidence tended to show that plaintiffs' boundary line extended to where the land north of the dam touches the high water line of the mill pond on the 1916 map (relevant portion of the map enlarged and shown below).

         Plaintiffs point to the location of the high water line as ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.