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Property boundary dispute with lawyers involved  

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Wildwheel
Posts: 1
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Joined: 1 year ago

It seems that when lawyers are involved with a boundary dispute the lawyers advise denying access to neighboring property.

For example, say the client and neighbor dispute their property boundary. Client and neighbor then hire lawyers and aren't allowed to communicate directly. Then client requests a survey. We show up to survey and are confronted by neighbor. Initially the neighbor is cordial, understanding of our process and has no issues with our presence. However, after talking to their lawyer are advised to deny us access to their (neighboring) property.

I am a green surveyor with ~1.5yr of experience, but this situation has happened multiple times.  From my understanding of the surveying profession, we aren't advocates for anyone (client or neighbor) and the goal is to establish the boundary as accurately as possible. Why lawyers act to delay the surveying process seems obvious, they want to drag out the process long as possible and get more money.

It irks me that lawyers attempt to obfuscate the establishment of property boundary. Why don't surveyors get called first, before lawyers, to mediate this type of boundary issue?

22 Replies
holy cow
Posts: 16113
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You must be in one of THOSE states where surveyors do not have a right of entry law working for them.  That is sad.

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2 Replies
Steven Metelski
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@holy-cow

Right of entry exists for when no one is home or no one answers door. Once a homeowners tells you to get off their property, you have no legal recourse. At least in my state

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holy cow
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@steven-metelsky

From our statutes.  Note that the surveyor may be delayed a bit but not prevented from completing what must be done.  This is critical in PLSSia.

 

74-7046.Liability of licensed land surveyor. (a) A land surveyor, licensed pursuant to article 70 of chapter 74 of the Kansas Statutes Annotated, and amendments thereto, and such surveyor's authorized agents and employees may enter upon lands, waters and premises of a party who has not requested the survey when it is necessary for the purpose of making a survey. If the licensed surveyor has made a reasonable attempt to notify the person in possession, such entry shall not be deemed a trespass. Upon notice, such person in possession has the right to modify the time and other provisions of the surveyor's access upon notification to the surveyor, as long as such modifications do not unreasonably restrict completion of the survey. Nothing herein shall change the status of the licensed surveyor as an occupier of land.

(b) While conducting surveys, the licensed surveyor and such surveyor's authorized agents and employees shall carry proper identification as to such surveyor's licensure or employment and shall display such identification to anyone upon request.

(c) Neither the landowner nor the person in possession shall be liable for any injury or damage sustained by a licensed surveyor or such surveyor's authorized agents and employees entering upon such land, water or premises under the provisions of this section, except when such damages and injury were willfully or deliberately caused by the landowner or person in possession.

(d) Nothing in this section shall be construed to:

(1) Remove civil liability for actual damage to such lands, waters, premises, crops or personal property;

(2) give the licensed surveyor or such surveyor's authorized agents and employees the authority to enter any building or structure used as a residence or for storage; and

(3) remove civil or criminal liability for intentional acts of injury or for damages to the surveyor or authorized agents and employees.

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Frank Willis
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Before using right-to-entry legislation in your state and using it to enter private property, I suggest that you read that law very closely.  Some of those laws have some vague or strange exceptions.  Also, those laws will not protect a law-abiding surveyor from gunshot wounds, dented trucks, or dog bites.  Our rule at the office was always, "Use right-to-entry only on non-contentious work, and if someone doesn't want you on their land, don't go."

Lawyer probably doesn't want his client to reveal damaging information to you or by allowing your to work be spun by the lawyer on your side that they accepted your work--or any infinite list of negatives they have to guard against.

The noble goal of non-advocacy can get gray when the surveyor for the other side assaults your integrity and tries to prove that you are incompetent, and the lawyer on his side files a motion to have you thrown out out of court for incompetence or error.  Although you might maintain objectivity and non-advocacy for the survey concepts, you will likely become a huge advocate for yourself and your own work, and you might stay up 24/7 doing it.  You even have to do that for work that you have done that is in fact positively correct.  They don't roll over in court like when Ironsides cross examines them on TV.  They always come out swinging and looking for ways to prove their case no matter what and often go down swinging like that rabbit on "In Search of the Holy Grail."

Think hard before you take on a seriously disputed case and consider referring it if it worries you.  

 

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Csk21
Posts: 10
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I have a very long list of things about lawyers that irks me...

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Bruce Small
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Last one I did like that both sets of attorneys followed me around, watching everything I did. Wasn't that fun.

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