Adverse Possession – Quiet Title

The individual seeking to have title quieted in himself or herself by claiming adverse possession is required to recover on the strength of his own title and not the weakness of his adversary’s title. Dugan v. Jensen, 244 Neb. 937, 510 N.W.2d 313 (1994); Vogel v. Bartels, 1 Neb. App. 1113, 510 N.W.2d 529 (1993); Mack v. Luebbens, 182 Neb. 832, 341 N.W.2d 335 (1983); Beren Corp. v. Spader, 198 Neb. 677, 255 N.W.2d 247 (1977); Bode v. Flobert Indus, Inc., 197 Neb. 488, 249 N.W.2d 750 (1977), rev’d on other grounds, 211 Neb. 757, 320 N.W.2d 463 (1982); Lunzmann v. Yost, 182 Neb. 101, 153 N.W.2d 294 (1967); Linch v. Nichelson, 178 Neb. 67, 134 N.W.2d 796 (1965); Jones v. Schmidt, 170 Neb. 351, 102 N.W.2d 640 (1960); Tourtelotte v. Pearce, 27 Neb. 57, 42 N.W. 915 (1889).

Title may not be granted or quieted on the theory of adverse possession in the absence of proof of exclusive possession for a purposes to which the land is adapted for the statutory period of ten years. Rentschler v. Walnofer, 203 Neb. 84 277 N.W. 2d 548 (1979). See also Kelley v. Long, 3 Neb. App. 467, 529 N.W.2d 72 (1995); Nennemann v. Rebuck, 242 Neb. 604, 496 N.W.2d 467 (1993); Young v. Lacy, 221 Neb. 511, 378 N.W.2d 192 (1985).

Because an action to quiet title is an equitable action, it is the duty of the court to try the issues of fact de novo on the record and to reach an independent conclusion without reference to the findings of the district court. Pettis v. Lozier, 217 Neb. 191, 349 N.W.2d 372 (1984); Weiss v. Meyer, 208 Neb. 429, 303 N.W.2d 765 (1981).

Proof of the adverse nature of the possession of the land is not sufficient to quiet title in the adverse possessor. The land itself must also be described with enough particularity to enable the court to exact the extent of the land adversely possessed and to enter a judgment upon the description. Matzke v. Hackbart, 224 Neb. 535, 399 N.W.2d 786 (1987); Steinfeldt v. Klusmire, 218 Neb. 736, 359 N.W.2d 81 (1984); Petsch v. Widger, 214 Neb. 390, 335 N.W.2d 254 (1983); Layher v. Dove, 207 Neb. 736, 301 N.W.2d 90 (1981).

Adverse possessor acquiring property held in fee simple does not acquire more than could have been acquired in conveyance from original owner. Gustin v. Scheele, 250 Neb. 269, 549 N.W.2d 135 (1996).