Expert Affidavit Crucial
Adamec claimed title to a parcel of land based on a description in a 1974 deed. The Mueller family’s source of title was a tax deed from 1989. Unfortunately, the Court believed that Adamec’s deed on its face “[did] not describe in detail the property being conveyed” and was insufficient to create a question of fact in opposition to the motion. As a result, the Supreme Court granted summary judgment for the Muellers and the Appellate Division affirmed. Note that the Court did not rule that the disputed parcel was not contained in the deed, just that the description was too vague to tell. Despite his almost 40-year-old claim of title, Adamec never got the chance to tell his story to the jury.
Many litigators defer the retention of an expert until trial, if at all. When it comes to land title disputes, the courts require a significant amount of evidence be submitted supporting or opposing a motion for summary judgment. Merely proffering a purported deed or chain of title without illuminating its contents will not suffice. Retaining Lance Pomerantz early in the litigation will help in identifying potential difficulties and addressing them before summary judgment can derail the lawsuit.