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PLSO Issue 4, 2014 July/August

Continues on page 8 ▶ Six common sense rules for resolving boundary disputes  Lee Spurgeon, PLS 7 Professional Land Surveyors of Oregon | www.plso.org I know that most of you would just prefer that all boundary lines are pretty much settled aff airs and that you could go your whole career without ever having to resolve a real Donnybrook boundary dispute involving lawyers, threats, and the brandishing of weapons. Some of us—the mental defectives, if you will—actually enjoy resolving these issues and bringing previously unseen peace into a neighborhood. It can also be a decent revenue source when the economy is in a downturn. I was considering taking out a television ad that said something like this: “You know your neighbor, the one who just put up a fence? Yeah, the big jerk with the loud dog. How do you know he put it in the right place? How do you know he isn’t trying to steal your land? Contact a local surveyor before he permanently snags it.” Although boundary disputes can be bothersome aff airs, I always keep in mind the Plumber’s Credo, “Your…” (Editor’s Note: Lee, you can’t say those words in a magazine like this. Didn’t you get my e-mail?) ( e “other” editor’s note: Th at’s NOT THE EDITOR of this magazine, but a hypothetical Lee editor!) (Author’s note to editor: You mean that e-mail with all the cuss words? I thought you were just bagging on my mother.) (Editor’s Note: Do you actually read any of my e-mails?) (Author’s Note: So that probably means I owe you an apology for the e-mail I sent you about your mother.) (Editor’s Note: You think?) (Author’s Note: Ooopsies!) Oh, where was I? Yes, the Plumber’s Credo; “ …Your effl uvium is our bread and butter.” (Editor’s Note: Ewwwwww!) So if you are going to deal with boundary disputes, you may as well learn these few simple rules: RULE 1: Barbecues are cheaper than lawyers. Even a simple adverse possession lawsuit can run anywhere from $20,000–$25,000. Even if your client spends that much, there is absolutely no guarantee your client will prevail. Most land cases require a very high standard of proof. In adverse possession cases, your client will need to prove all elements of the law by clear and convincing evidence. Th e higher the burden of proof, then it generally follows the greater expense of the lawsuit. A good barbecue with marinated tri-tip steaks can be thrown for around $20 per person, which includes the requisite amount of beer required in order to believe your neighbor isn’t a repulsive slug. I know it sounds like a no-brainer in fi nancial terms, but for some reason, land attorneys still manage to make a living. Perhaps the Weber Grill Company needs to get its message out there. RULE 2: Th e fi rst person to accuse their neighbor of being a jerk is generally the jerk. Th is rule is based on the psychological principle of reciprocity of attribution. We tend to attribute to other people those attributes which we see as a fl aw in ourselves. Th ieves will accuse other people of being thieves. Liars believe that someone else is a liar. And jerks will think other people are jerks. Th is principle was summed up perfectly by Raylan Givens on the show “Justifi ed”: “If at the end of the day, you look in the mirror and you have seen one jerk, then you have seen a jerk. On the other hand, while you look into that mirror and think you have seen a hundred jerks, then you are probably looking at the jerk.” (Author’s Note: Raylan didn’t use the word ‘jerk’, but having actually read the editor’s e-mail, I thought I would clean things up on my own.) BOUNDARY DISPUTES


PLSO Issue 4, 2014 July/August
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