Amicus Brief

Jeffrey and Karen Haynes v Village of Beulah

Case Year: 2014
Case Forum: Michigan Court of Appeals
Keywords: roads, encroachments, adjacent property owner, rights of way, acquiescence, highways, adverse possession
Amicus Counsel:

Thomas R. Schultz | Carol A. Rosati | Johnson, Rosati, Schultz & Joppich, P.C. | 34405 West Twelve Mile Road Suite 200 | Farmington Hills, MI 48331 | 248-489-4100

CoAmicus Parties:

Public Corporation Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan (PCLS)


Appellants argue that they have acquired public land, in the form of a portion of a Village road, by encroaching through means of placement of railroad ties and rocks in the right-of-way of a Village road, which the Village did not remove for a period of 15 years. Counsel argues that MCL 247.190, which bars individuals from encroaching upon and gaining title to public highways, applies to the Village streets at issue, effectively barring Plaintiff’s acquiescence claim. The holding of Mason v Menominee, which allowed an acquiescence claim of public parkland, should not only be declined to be extended by this case, but should be overturned. Municipalities cannot acquiesce in giving away public land, nor can an adjacent property owner gain title to public property through adverse possession or acquiescence. Should Appellants be victorious in this action, public property across the state of Michigan will be vulnerable to adverse possession claims.


Court of Appeals:
Plaintiffs appeal as of right following the trial court’s grant of defendant’s motion for summary disposition. We affirm.

MSC requested LDF amicus brief? No

For over 60 years, plaintiffs have owned the property at 197 Lake Street in the Village of Beulah. Plaintiffs’ predecessors in title, Ellsworth and Emily Haynes, installed railroad ties in Lake
Street at least and likely before 1968. The Village never contested the placement of the ties. There are also landscaping rocks, a large cedar tree, and grassthat Plaintiffs have maintained for well over 15 years. The Village has
maintained that the travelled area of Lake Street by resurfacing the road surface up to the railroad ties and marked parallel parking on the pavement of Lake Street up to the railroad ties.

Case Number: 2013-04
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