Practice point: In order for laches to apply to the failure of an owner of real property to assert his or her interest, it must be shown that the plaintiff inexcusably failed to act when he or she knew, or should have known, that there was a problem with the title to the property. So, the application of laches requires the elements sufficient to create an equitable estoppel.
Student note: Equitable estoppel arises when a property owner
stands by without objection while an opposing party asserts an ownership
interest in the property and incurs expense in reliance on that belief.
The property owner must inexcusably delay in asserting a claim to the
property, while knowing that the opposing party has changed its position to its irreversible detriment. As the effect of delay may be critical to an
adverse party, delays of less than one year have been held sufficient to
warrant the application of the defense.
Case: Jean v. Joseph, NY Slip Op 03798 (2d Dept. 2014)
Here is the decision.
Tomorrow's issue: Outstanding discovery and a summary judgment motion.