Sikora Law recently earned its 37th appellate victory, collectively covering 28 different subjects in Ohio real property law. See IRG Amherst, LLC v. Pennsylvania Lines, LLC, 2023-Ohio-2805. The IRG appellate victory advances our client’s claims for adverse possession and prescriptive easement over the land at issue in that case that is an old abandoned railway corridor.
In the 19th century, railroad companies built a rail line to service a large stone quarry in Lorain County, Ohio. Rail service in that area was discontinued in the 1980s, and the tracks were removed, leaving the railroad holding title of record to a narrow strip of land. The railroad sold a portion of that strip, but it also retained a portion near the quarry, which was landlocked. IRG had purchased the quarry property surrounding the railroad’s unused strip, and IRG and its predecessor in title maintained that strip for many years.
Our firm filed suit on behalf of IRG, asserting adverse possession over the former railroad strip, alternatively seeking a prescriptive easement over that area. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the railroad. IRG appealed, and the Court of Appeals reversed, citing voluminous deposition testimony supporting IRG’s arguments demonstrating use and maintenance of the strip area for more than 21 years. That case will now proceed to trial, where IRG will present clear and convincing evidence concerning adverse use of the strip over the past several decades.
This case demonstrates the value of mounting evidence to support every element of adverse possession, and making a detailed record at the trial court level of that evidence. Adverse possession is difficult to prove, but with the right facts and enough evidence, it can be justified.