Property I Class Website

Prof. Scott B. Ehrlich
Fall 2014

Welcome to the Property Class Website

This website provides updated information about the course and assignments. It also contains links to the handouts and materials used in the course, as well as links to sites on the web.  Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Please note: All materials on this web site are protected by copyright and intended for use only by students enrolled in Property II at California Western School of Law. Students enrolled in the class may copy these materials to their own computers. However, these materials may not be transferred to others or posted on publicly accessible web sites.


We will be using two resources: (1) Ehrlich, Assignments & Supplement; and, (2) Dukeminier, Property (8th ed).  All of the Assignments for the course are contained in the photocopied materials or on-line via this link: Assignments for the entire Semester.  Assignments the next few classes will always be posted below.  As time passes, you can find earlier assignments at the following link: Past Assignments.


Note: Hit the “refresh” button on your browser to make sure that you are looking at a current version of the assignments, rather than a cached version on your computer.


1.     Tuesday, September 23:

a.     Review the California Code of Civil Procedure dealing with Adverse Possession and see if the statutes are consistent with our class discussion:  California Adverse Possession Statutes

i.       Make sure you read §323 of the California Code of Civil Procedure carefully.

b.     Mannillo v. Gorski at pages 164-169 and the notes following the case.

i.       Can you reconcile the “open & notorious” requirement in Krona and Mannillo?  Do these two courts interpret the elements of open & notorious consistently?

c.      Explain the meaning of “color of title.”

d.     Explain the meaning of “constructive possession”

e.     Howard v. Kunto at pages 170-177 and the notes following the case.

2.     Thursday, September 25:

a.     Marengo Cave Co. v. Ross at pages 25-29 of the Supplement. 

i.       Query: After reading Marengo Cave Co. v. Ross, is it possible for an underground possessor to ever fulfill the “open & notorious” element of adverse possession?  Some student treatises say no, underground possessors can never claim title by adverse possession due to an inability to fulfill the open and notorious element.  Do you agree? 

ii.      Answer the Olive & Paula Hypothetical

b.     Good Faith Claim of Right & the California View:

i.       Gilardi v. Hallam at pages 30-34 of the Supplement and the relevant California Adverse Possession Statutes.

(1)   In Gilardi v. Hallam, the California Supreme Court held that the Hallam’s did not satisfy one of the elements for title by adverse possession (the payment of taxes under §328 of the California Code of Civil Procedure). 

(2)   Why did the court remand the case to the trial court and why did the trial court deny recovery to the Gilardi’s?

3.     Tuesday, September 30:

a.     Challenge: There will be a prize for students who solve the challenge.

i.       Supposedly, many states do not require a “good faith” claim of right.  Nevertheless, courts are unlikely to find in favor of an adverse possessor who acts in bad faith & attempts to knowingly gain title to land of a neighbor using the doctrine of Adverse Possession.  The challenge is two cases, in any state, in the last 20 years that gave title to a squatter who knew he was not making a GFCR or based on Color of Title.  You cannot use the case of Chaplin v. Sanders

ii.      To participate in the challenge, email your response to me by no later than Monday at 4:00 pm.

b.     Adverse Possession – The Statutory Period & “Disabilities”:

i.       In some states, the statute of limitations will be “tolled” & extended for the period of the disability if, at the time the possession commences, the true owner is:

(1)   A minor

(2)   Insane

(3)   Imprisoned

ii.      Read these provisions from the California Code of Civil Procedure: CCP §328 and 328.5 and answer the following hypothetical:

(1)   Suppose in Howard v. Kunto Lot C (the lot possessed by Kunto) is technically owned by Howard.  There is a 10 year statute of limitations:

(a)   1995: Kunto pays $400k & takes possession of Lot C after receiving a deed to “Lot D” from his seller (everyone is on wrong lot)

(b)   1999: Howard dies.  His sole heir is his five year old daughter, Helen.

(c)   2012: Helen turns 18.

(d)   2016: Helen brings an ejectment action (21 years after the Kunto’s mistakenly occupy).

(2)   Keep in mind that the Kuntos are in actual possession, under a good faith claim of right, continuously, etc. for 21 years and the state statute is 10 years.  Will the Kuntos gain title by adverse possession?

c.      Acquiring Rights To Property - Gift

i.       Pages 189-191 and Gruen v. Gruen at pages 199-205 and notes 1-2 following the case.  Then, answer the following question:

(a)   Question: What is required for a valid transfer of tangible personal property while the grantor is alive?  Suppose that you have a brother or sister who lives in New York.  As a graduation gift you want to give him or her title to your laptop computer.  You call your sibling by telephone (who is 3,000 miles away), or you text him/her, and state:  “Happy graduation, the laptop is now yours.”  Five minutes later you change your mind and call/text again, stating: “Sorry, I decided to keep the laptop.”  Who owns the laptop?

(i)     You because a verbal gift is not valid unless the property, or a written instrument, is physically delivered to the grantee.

(ii)    You because you validly revoked the gift before delivery could occur.

(iii)  Your brother or sister because title to the laptop was validly delivered and cannot be revoked.

(iv)  Your brother or sister because they can use the doctrine of promissory estoppel, or equitable estoppel, to compel completion of delivery.

Links and Reference Materials  

There is a password for some documents on this website.  It will be announced in class and emailed to you.

1.     California Adverse Possession Statutes

2.     California Codes.  This link connects you to the official site of the State of California and allows you to search any of the California Codes.  For instance, to find out about tenant security deposits, click “Civil Code” and insert “tenant security deposit” in the search block.

Questions & Answers

If you have a question that you would like answered, e-mail Prof. Ehrlich at: Your name will not be posted, just the question & answer. We have powerful & enthusiastic junk email filters. If you send me email from an outside account (not your law school email account) make sure you put the word “Property” in the Subject line.


The following links will take you to a compilation of questions posed by prior students, and answers posted by Prof. Ehrlich:  


General Questions & Answers


Estates in Land Questions & Answers


Contact Prof. Ehrlich

E-mail: sbe@cwsl.eduPlease put the word “Property” in the Subject line.
Tel: 619-525-1416
Office: Room 313, Administration Building (225 Cedar St.)


Office Hours





Other Times:

I’m often available, please knock.