List of available subjects - Kristopher M. Kline, P.L.S.
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- Courtroom preparation and testimony. Courtroom testimony is one of the most difficult responsibilities that a professional surveyor can assume. The student will follow the entire process from the initial client contact to the courtroom. Methods of collecting, preserving, and presenting evidence will be discussed, along with depositions and preparation for testimony. Courtroom demeanor and presentation skills will be addressed, along with tips for enhancing your professional appearance and danger signs to watch for in cross-examination. Aspects of concise communications with your client and attorney, opposing attorneys, and with the judge and jury will be discussed. This course may also include case studies from the jurisdiction where the class is held. (half day or full-day)
- Courtroom Preparation and Testimony – Keeping the Cooley Spirit Alive This is a full-day expanded version of the half-day Courtroom Preparation class listed above, interspersed with many of the significant rulings from Justice Thomas Cooley.
- Know When to hold 'em and other procedural pitfalls. At the core of our profession is the boundary monument, and most boundary retracement decisions revolve around the choice to hold an existing monument, set a new monument, or choose between multiple existing monuments. Part one of this seminar is an in-depth discussion of principles that form the basis of this critical decision, including the rules of construction, sufficiency of research, and relevant common law for the analysis for several types of property corners. (Note: part 1 may be presented as a half day seminar). Part two will concentrate on adverse possession, prescriptive easements, and quasi easements. (state specific) This is a general overview of several different principles. Knowledge of these topics will help the surveyor to improve his research and location techniques (both office and field) so as to better serve the client in cases where disputes may arise. Material presented will be specific to the state or states selected by the host society. (8 hours).
- Ethics, Professionalism and the Courts. This ethics course focuses on professional behavior from the perspective of court decisions. The class includes real-life examples where surveyor’s behavior has been analyzed and critiqued by judges across the country. It also includes relevant segments from local standards of practice and codes of ethics. (4 hours)
- What Did You Really Mean? – The Intent of the Parties. The concept of the Intent of the Parties is central to many of our boundary retracement decisions. Not only is this concept prominent in easement law and deed interpretation, but it also occurs when dealing with Wills, Color of Title issues, quasi easements, and Adverse Possession. This seminar includes: Intent of the Parties and the significance of surrounding circumstances, Intent as it affects deed interpretation, Common-Law Dedication and Acceptance of Easements, Color of Title, and Intent as it relates to Adverse Possession. (8 hours)
- How to Fix a Boundary Line (and how NOT to). This course examines various legal mechanisms which courts apply in order to fix the location of a disputed or uncertain boundary line or easement. Topics include: Adverse Possession, Boundary by Estoppel, Conditional and Consentable Boundary Lines, Practical Location, and Parol vs. written agreements. A segment on the doctrine of Merger is also included. (8 hours)
- Property Rights on the “Z” axis. This course considers underground trespass and the interaction of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing with property boundaries. It also includes discussion of easements associated with mining interests and other horizontal estates in land. *** Several cases will consider the vertical extent of property ownership and associated easements. *** Additional topics include problems associated with surface flow of water and the effect of the common enemy doctrine, civil law rule, and the reasonable use doctrine on property rights. *** A discussion of Railroad easements and rights of way includes hands-on problems for the student and demonstrates how the courts determine ownership of the railroad corridor. (8 hours)
- Colonial State Exam Review: Boundary Retracement Principles. This class is designed to review basic principles of boundary retracement including: Rules of Construction, Junior-Senior title, Sufficiency of research, proportioning, Simultaneous vs. Sequential Conveyance, and creation, scope, and reversion of Easements. Also included are basics of Adverse possession (not state specific) (minimum 4 hours - maximum 8 hours)
- Whatever Floats Your Boat – Riparian Boundaries. Waterways are some of the oldest transportation corridors in our country. This class focuses on the evolution of the many definitions of "Navigable Waterways" with relevant state-specific case law and statutes. Significant U.S. Supreme Court rulings from early formative decisions to the present day will be considered. Ownership of the fee, Rights of Navigation and interpretation of riparian descriptions will be discussed. This class also includes discussion of accretion and erosion, and considers various regulatory issues, including U.S.A.C.E. definitions. (8 hours) Note: this course must be completely rebuilt for each jurisdiction. As a result, cost for this class is 2000.00 for all contracts.
- Adverse Possession Like You’ve Never Seen It - State specific discussion of Adverse Possession and Prescriptive Easements, with relevant local case law. Specific topics include: Tacking; Claims against the state; Claims made under mistaken belief; Effects of ordinances on adverse claims; Effects of a survey on a prescriptive claim; Neighborly Accommodation. (4 hours)
- Prescriptive Easements Like You’ve Never Seen Them – while the basic concepts behind prescriptive easements are widely recognized, many developments in this area of the law are fairly recent. The course begins with the development of the Lost Grant Theory and its relationship to prescriptive rights in the United States. The various elements required for the creation of a prescriptive easement are discussed in detail. Tacking and claims by (and against) the state are considered, along with the scope & location of the resulting easement. This class also goes into court rulings for prescriptive easements associated with: Parking Areas; Subterranean and Visible Utility Easements; Light and Air; Trees and Shrubbery. (4 hours)
- Wars Between the States. This class considers U.S. Supreme Court decisions dealing with boundary disputes between states – and what the surveyor can learn from them. Specific topics will include classic retracement issues, riparian principles, and acquiescence as it applies to municipal and state boundaries. (4 hours)
- Three new ways to Find Trouble. This class focuses on: (1) Lands protected by the Public Trust Doctrine; (2) In-depth discussion of Easements and the Doctrine of Merger; (3) Slander of Title. These issues have recently come home to roost at the doorsteps of some unhappy land surveyors. (4 hours)
- Three More Ways to Find Trouble. This half-day course considers two unusual methods to transfer title; the Common Scheme Doctrine and the concept of Part Performance of an Oral Contract. Additional discussion includes effects of tax maps on property titles. (4 hours)
- Statute of Frauds (and) Why People Ignore it. Surveyors deal with many types of written documents in the course of their practice. Part One: of this course begins with an overview of the history, scope, and intent of the Statute of Frauds. Common law standards for legitimate conveyances, the rationale behind recording statutes, and court rules for the interpretation of documents will be discussed along with their significance to the surveyor’s practice. Admissibility of parol evidence and other surrounding circumstances when interpreting deeds is considered. This class looks at unintended consequences that may arise due to the writings produced by the surveyor, including the recent rise in “slander of title” charges against Land Surveyors. The effect of tax maps on title and mechanisms that stretch the limits of the statute finish out the morning segment. Part Two: Looks at the many mechanisms that may operate outside of the statute of frauds, including the Common Scheme Doctrine, implied dedication and acceptance of easements and the Doctrine of the Presumed Grant. A discussion of parol agreement, part performance, acquiescence, estoppel, and adverse possession is included, along with the related issues of Color of title and of the legal significance of recorded and unrecorded surveys. The afternoon session finishes with the Doctrine of Merger and its effect on easements and on unwritten rights. (8 hours)
- Deeds and Descriptions: Do’s Don’t, and Depends. The class begins with: elements of a deed, types of deeds (warranty, quitclaim, gift etc.), reservations and exceptions, calls for a plat. In addition, we will consider rules of construction, calls for adjoiners, the critical link between monuments and deeds, and key words and phrases for various types of descriptions. This is followed with guidelines and tips for providing sufficient descriptions without introducing ambiguities or unnecessary complexity. The latter part of the class includes hands-on exercises where students will split up in groups to write descriptions for various types of deeds, including classic boundary descriptions, deeds of easement, riparian boundaries, and/or mineral estates. Students will then analyze the descriptions produced by the various groups. (8 hours)
- Unlikely Easements and Servitudes: Created, Modified, Extinguished. This course focuses on incorporeal rights and servitudes that are created or modified by actions, implication or operation of law rather than by express language in the record documents. Part I of the class considers “non-standard” methods that can create incorporeal rights, including: Implication, Estoppel, Common Scheme Doctrine, Custom, Prescription and Part Performance. Part II covers mechanisms that can modify or extinguish a servitude, including: Estoppel, Cessation of Purpose, Frustration of Purpose, Adverse Possession/Castle Associates Rule, and Part Performance. (8 hours)
- Making Tracks – Railroad Problems. Numerous lawsuits emphasize the problems facing the surveyor who attempts to determine the limits and nature of property rights associated with rail lines. This course focuses on Railroad easements and rights of way with specific focus on understanding how the courts determine the location and ownership of a rail corridor. This class includes hands-on problems for the student. (4 hours)
Fee and Travel Expense Schedule: (Note: subject to change)
$ 2000.00 - Single day of instruction, or day 1 of multi-day contract (A day can be two 4-hour courses or one 8-hour course) (plus all travel, meal, hotel expenses and registration fees)
$ 1,600.00 per day - Subsequent full days of instruction scheduled at a single conference. (plus all travel, meal, hotel expense and registration fees)
$ 1000 - half day seminar - total time 3 to 4 hours. (plus all travel, meal, hotel expenses and registration fees) Note: half-day seminar rates apply only where half-day classes are part of a larger teaching contract for multiple classes.
Preparation Time: All classes are customized to the state or states specified. In order to allow sufficient time to prepare state-specific handouts and to provide for timely delivery, distribution and/or printing of class notes, we recommend finalizing all contracts 4 (four) months before the planned presentation date. Later contracts and last-minute additions or alterations will be priced on a case-by-case basis.
Travel expenses by the following criteria:
By Car: current car rental rates, gas, tolls, parking, meals, lodging and incidental expenses
Plane fare: current round-trip economy travel rate, meals, lodging, taxi or rental car to hotel and incidental expenses. (note: taxi or rental car expense can be waived if local transport is arranged by host organization)