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March 28, 2013

COA finds that plaintiff claiming that she owned adjacent property is barred from asserting title by the equitable doctrine of laches

In Knight v. Northpoint Bank, the Court of Appeals upheld the application of the equitable doctrine of laches to defeat a challenge to a Bank's claim to real property finding that the plaintiff, who also claimed title to the subject property, lived adjacent to that property for over eight years, but did not assert her rights during that time. The Court also rejected plaintiff's argument that the Bank's chain of title was facially defective because it flowed from an agent transferring title to herself through a power of attorney. The Court found that such a transfer is appropriate where it is consistent with the agent's duties to the principal. Here, the agent and principal both died during plaintiff's period of delay, thus prejudicing the Bank's rights to prove the validity of the transfer. Under these circumstances, the Court of Appeals found that the application of laches was proper.

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