Court of Special Appeals Rules for Adverse Possessor in Dispute About a Property on the Ocean City Boardwalk
On December 21, 2018, in Nathans Associates v. The Mayor and City Council of Ocean City, the Court of Special Appeals handed the descendants of Nathan Rapoport a big victory, preventing Ocean City from kicking Nathans Associates out of a property the Rapoport family has continuously occupied and controlled since 1912 (the “Nathans Property”). In so doing, the Court reversed a trial verdict for Ocean City issued by retired Maryland Court of Appeals Judge Dale R. Cathell. This case is a cautionary tale for anyone who has the burden of proof to show that a modern-day building is located at a particular point on an old plat in a town’s records. The case is also interesting because of a motion to recuse that Nathans Associates made during the trial, after Ocean City introduced a letter that Judge Cathell wrote to Mr. Rapoport in 1972 when Judge Cathell was the City Solicitor of Ocean City. The Court of Special Appeals found no abuse of discretion in Judge Cathell’s denial of Nathans Associates’ recusal motion.