The Wallen family owned a cabin on Lummi Island in the state of Washington. A driveway ran from the cabin across their property to South Nugent Road. Floyd Massey bought the adjacent lot and built a cabin on it in 1980. To gain access to his property, Massey used a bulldozer to extend the driveway, without the Wallens’ permission but also without their objec-tion. In 2005, the Wallens sold their property to Wright Fish Company. Massey continued to use and maintain the driveway without permission or objection. In 2011, Massey sold his property to Robert Drake. Drake and his employees continued to use and maintain the driveway without permission or objection, although Drake knew it was located largely on Wright’s property. In 2013, Wright sold its lot to Robert Smersh. The next year, Smersh told Drake to stop using the driveway. Drake filed a suit against Smersh, claiming an easement by prescription (which is created by meeting the same requirements as adverse possession). (See page 965.)
(a) The first group will decide whether Drake’s use of the driveway meets all of the requirements for adverse possession (easement by prescription).
(b) The second group will determine how the court should rule in this case and why. Does it matter that Drake knew the driveway was located largely on Wright’s (and then Smersh’s) property? Should it matter? Why or why not?
(c) A third group will evaluate the underlying policy and fairness of adverse possession laws. Should the law reward persons who take possession of someone else’s land for their own use? Does it make sense to punish owners who allow someone else to use their land without complaint? Explain.