The Modern Law Library

Users Keepers: Pirates, zombies and adverse possession

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"Trespassing plus time equals adverse possession," Paul Golden writes in his new book, Litigating Adverse Possession Cases: Pirates v. Zombies. When someone has occupied or used a piece of property as though they own it for long enough, a court could determine that they are the rightful owner—regardless of what the paperwork says. It's a concept more popularly discussed as squatter's rights.

In this episode of The Modern Law Library podcast, Golden speaks with the ABA Journal’s Lee Rawles about the ancient concepts underlying modern adverse possession law, some quirky state laws, and why societies would allow land to be transferred in this way.

They also discuss how the plain meaning of terms such as “hostile” are changed when used in adverse possession cases, and Rawles raises a hypothetical—taken from real life—of a neighbor’s crooked fence.

During Golden’s first appearance on The Modern Law Library, he explained how the lack of a written contract could be navigated by a savvy lawyer. In his new book, Golden guides attorneys and their clients through the finer points of arguing for and against adverse possession claims. He shares some of the errors that he’s seen pop up in adverse possession cases and offers advice for how to avoid common pitfalls.

Listeners of the podcast have been given a promotional discount code for Litigating Adverse Possession Cases: Pirates v. Zombies through May 10. For 20% off, go to the ABA’s online shop and enter LAPC2024 at checkout.

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In This Podcast:

<p>Paul Golden</p>

Paul Golden

Paul Golden is a New York litigator and a partner in the law firm Coffey Modica’s Manhattan, New York City, office. He has worked for more than 25 years in the field of appellate practice, insurance litigation, real estate litigation, commercial litigation and personal injury defense. He has successfully argued dozens of appellate cases, including two before New York’s high court, the New York State Court of Appeals. He has successfully obtained title to real property for his clients, even in several cases when his clients had no recorded deeds. Golden has also written several legal articles for various publications, taught continuing legal education classes, and lectured in Japanese law schools. Golden received his JD degree from the University of Illinois College of Law and his BFA degree from New York University, where he majored in film and TV production. He is now at work on a third book—concerning the litigation over control of one of the most famous fictional characters of all time. He can be reached at [email protected].

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