In 1982, Green's grandmother, Billie Harrild, offered Green a piece of the family's land. Green selected a parcel of land on a bluff, across a creek from her grandparents' house. The alleged gift was not recorded, and Green's grandparents and cousin remained the owners of record. However, according to Green's testimony, in the 10 years following her entry onto the property, all three "absolutely" recognized the land as hers. Neighbors testified that Billie consistently referred to the land as Green's property. Between 1982 and 1992, Green gradually built a house and cultivated grounds on the bluff. She worked on the property over the summers, and worked as a nurse and glassmaker in California for the rest of the year. In 1982, she planned the site of her house and cleared trees on the lot. In the summers of 1983 and 1984, she lived in a camper on the property, cleared more trees and stumps, and oversaw hand excavation for the foundation of the house. In the following summers, she gradually expanded the cultivated section of the property, planting lilac bushes and fruit trees and installing a coop for chickens and turkeys. She and a neighbor worked on building the house itself, and beginning in 1987, Green lived in the nearly complete house during the summers.
In 1986, Green worked in Fairbanks the whole year and visited the property by snow machine during the winter. In 1989 she lived on the property for eight or nine months. Green left trees standing on much of the property, but cleared undergrowth and planted native plants over an area of several acres. She also cut trees from a wide area on the southern hillside in order to clear the view from the cabin. She posted "No Trespassing" signs and built benches in some areas away from the house. She put up a chain across the road entering the property, but did not fence the entire area. In 1990, the house was considerably damaged by vandalism, and Green repaired the damage when she returned to Alaska in the spring. Green arranged with her grandparents that, for the remainder of their lives, they could extract and sell small quantities of rock from the property, but she strongly opposed use of such equipment on the property. Sometime between 1988 and 1991, the Harrilds signed a contract with an extraction company, Earthmovers, allowing them to excavate rock from the family property, including the bluff. Earthmovers excavated a trench on the bluff on a day when Green was not at home. When Green returned and found the workers and equipment on the property, however, she told them that they were not allowed to excavate there. Green granted the workers permission to finish the task at hand, insisted that they arrange to repair a telephone line that they had damaged, and ordered them to leave the property. In 1988, Vezey became interested in properties in this area. Vezey approached the Harrilds about purchasing their land. In 1994, while Vezey was still in negotiations with the Harrilds, Green called him, and, according to Green, she told Vezey that the land belonged to her. In the winter of 1994-1995, Vezey purchased property that included the bluff area claimed by Green. Green brought suit, asserting that she owned the bluff area property. Will she win?

  • CreatedJuly 16, 2014
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