If a Municipality Sells Land That Actually Belonged to Me, Do I Have Any Discourse?

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‘My neighbor ‘A’ quit-claimed a permanent easement (50’x100′ rectangle) to my other neighbor ‘B’, however the actual property the easement is on is mine. I notified neighbor ‘B’ that they bought it from the wrong land owner and they agreed. They are going to release any title they may have in it via a quitclaim deed to me. BUT the original easement deed language granted them the right to cut all the trees, excavate, and/or fill the easement land – and that’s exactly what they did. Neighbor ‘B’ (a municipality) is now refusing to pay to restore the easement property and they are immune from any tort claims. What can I do? Can I pursue a declaratory judgment and seek relief that way? Are there any other options?’

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

The problem you’re running into is a magical little area of law known as “sovereign immunity.” The general rule is that people cannot sue the government.

Most states have some laws which create exceptions to this rule, however those laws differ considerably from state to state. Unfortunately, the only way to answer whether your situation fits into one of the exceptions is to consult with an attorney in your state.

One other thing you could explore is whether the person who granted the easement (Neighbor A) is responsible. If it was an honest mistake, this is not as likely as if they purposely granted an interest in property they didn’t own.



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Author: House Attorney

A house attorney has answered this question.