O'Connor v. Larocque

From wikilawschool.org. Wiki Law School does not provide legal advice. For educational purposes only.
O'Connor v. Larocque
Court Connecticut Supreme Court
Citation 302 Conn. 562, 31 A.3d 1
Date decided November 1, 2011

Facts

  • In 1971, Mr. Perkowski died intestate.
  • At the time, Perkowski owned a vacant lot in Connecticut.
  • A 1/3 interest in the lot went to Perkowski's widow while a 1/6 interest went to each of the 4 children
  • However, the widow mistakenly believed that she had inherited everything (i.e., the whole lot)
  • Based on the said assumption, the widow conveyed the entire lot to her daughter & son-in-law (the daughter's husband) "O'Connor" in 1980
  • Later in 1987, the daughter O'Connor realized that her mother had only a 1/3 interest (2/6) in the lot
  • Larocque = a sister of O'Connor
  • O'Connor wanted to convince Larocque to hand over her share of the land to O'Connor
  • Another sister & the surviving spouse of another conveyed their interests to O'Connor; in other words, 2 siblings handed over 2 * (1/6) interests to O'Connor
  • However, Larocque refused to hand over her interest to her sister O'Connor & husband
  • Consequently, O'Connor had a 5/6 interest in the lot while Larocque had a 1/6 interest in the lot

Procedural History

  • O'Connor sued Larocque in state superior court to quiet title.
  • Larocque counter-claimed against adverse possession by means of a tenancy in common
  • O'Connor won in the bench trial

Issues

Must a co-tenant in a tenancy in common prove that she ousted the other co-tenants from the land to obtain sole ownership by adverse possession?

Arguments

O'Connor contended that she had acquire Larocque's interest by adverse possession.

Holding

In a tenancy in common, a co-tenant must prove that she ousted the other co-tenants from the land to obtain sole ownership by land.

Judgment

Reversed

Reasons

Judge Zarella: There's a strong presumption against adverse possession of a tenancy in common.

Resources