Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. (“ALBPC”) was retained by a leading title insurance carrier to defend a homeowner in Westchester County who had contracted with a developer to purchase a parcel of property and a home to be constructed on it. Also a party to the contract was a contractor, who was hired by the developer to construct the new home and its appurtenance. One boundary line of the homeowner’s property adjoins two neighboring properties.
The contractor hired a surveyor to survey the boundary lines of the property to ensure proper placement of a driveway, stone wall and plumbing connections that were to be built by the contractor.
After construction was complete, the homeowner was notified by a county agency that the surveyed boundary line was inaccurate. It turned out that a portion of the stone wall, driveway and underground utilities encroached on two neighboring properties. The surveyor did a second survey confirming that the first survey was inaccurate leading to the encroachment.
The neighbors sued the homeowner for injunctive relief to remove the encroaching structures, and compensatory damages for trespass.
ALBPC attorneys immediately sprang into action, pouring over old deeds and property records to prepare a detailed answer to the complaint setting forth fifteen affirmative defenses as well as counterclaims for adverse possession and prescriptive easement. Because the surveyor was the party at fault, but the homeowner did not have a contractual relationship directly with the surveyor, ALBPC developed a strategy under which the surveyor would be held accountable for its mistake. ALBPC accomplished this by moving on the offensive – impleading the developer and the contractor as third party defendants. The contractor, now faced with its own liability, then impleaded the surveyor, the real guilty party, who had incorrectly laid out the wrong boundary line leading to the encroachment.
Despite the multiple parties involved and their varied interests, after lengthy negotiation led by ALBPC attorneys, the parties finally agreed to a settle the case upon extremely favorable terms to the homeowner and the title insurance carrier.
Through well researched and detail oriented legal strategy as well as skilled negotiation tactics, ALBPC attorneys successfully brought this protracted neighbor dispute to a successful resolution.
Partner Colin E. Kaufman, Esq. and associate Israel Katz, Esq. of ALBPC’s Title Insurance Litigation Group represented the homeowner and title insurance carrier in this matter.