Scrivener's error (I think)
Jones is patented the E1/2SW1/4, he then forms a company and creates a subdivision lying south of the south bank of a creek that runs east-west through the northerly portion of the 80 acres. Smith is deeded the E2SW4 excepting the subdivision in 1925. Smith deeds out some lands and eventually Johnson an heir to Smith gets the remaining lands through a court action after Smith dies.
in 1960 for some reason Johnson creates a deed describing the remaining lands as north of the north bank of the creek instead of north of the south bank, the plat clearly shows the south bank as the subdivision boundary. This is the scrivener's error (I think) there seems to be no other reason for the gap that is created.
Johnson deeds out his parcel and describes the south line as north of the north bank, which brings us up to the present day owners,,,,,,,,,,,is there any way except for a quiet title action to clean up the gap?
Johnson is long gone, the only possible owner of the creek by the descriptions are the heirs, there is no way for any of them to get physical access to the land, they all live far away anyway.
Well, if you ask an attorney (well most of them anyway) they will say that some court action (for which they will get well paid) is necessary.
At first glance I'm tending towards the strip & gore doctrine (or something similar). I'm assuming Johnson didn't, by clear language and subsequent actions by him and the adjoiners, intend to retain the creek. Therefore, the boundary of the senior parcel - the south bank, is the boundary. Well, unless, your state treats the creek like a public road and the centerline is presumed to be the boundary unless it is unambiguous that the centerline isn't the boundary. I ain't even touching navigability and "water front" issues......................
I'm also pointing the attorney in the direction of the Strip and Gore doctrine, I'm not sure about the specific procedure that will make the title people happy. He is clearly wishing to avoid court for this issue, which is a nice change.
The south bank was referenced and called out for the description for the subdivision, it was also clearly shown on the plat. There is no navigability concerns or federal or state retention of the waterway.
How many adjoiners in the subdivision south of the south bank of the creek? If only a couple you might work with the client to have those adjoiners sign quit claim deeds to the owner north of the north bank. Describe the scrivener's error in detail, show them the plat of the subdivision showing they clearly were not intended to have any part of the creek, tell them they will be named in a quiet title action if needed, then present quit claim deeds that are already filled out. This works best if you can get the adjoiners together for a single presentation.
Had something similar once where the client did not want to own the empty strip and was willing to quit claim any interest to the adjoiners. The adjoiners agreed to the deal. It still took quite a bit of explaining, though.
Patent ambiguity - use a boundary line agreement?