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Available Course Material - Kristopher M. Kline, P.L.S. 
Don't see what you're looking for? Call and ask! 828-778-1748


  1. 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. (4 hrs.)

  2. 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.

  3. Know When to Hold 'em and Other Procedural Pitfalls. At the core of our profession is the boundary monument; most retracement disputes involve a choice to hold an existing monument, set a new monument, or choose between several existing monuments. This seminar is an in-depth discussion of basic theories and specific principles that form the basis of this critical decision, including the rules of construction, variations associated with riparian boundaries, and problems associated with 'office surveys.'  Standards of research and a segment on modern survey retracement is included. (8 hrs.).              

  4. 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 hrs.)

  5. 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 hrs.)

  6. 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 hrs)

  7. 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)

  8. 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)

  9. 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.

  10. 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)

  11. 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)

  12. 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)

  13. 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)

  14. 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)

  15. 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)

  16. Deeds and Descriptions: Do’s Don’t, and Depends. The class considers elements of a deed, reservations and exceptions; reference to a plat. In addition, it covers rules of construction, calls for adjoiners, the critical link between monuments and deeds along with and key words and phrases for various types of descriptions. The course provides guidelines for providing concise descriptions without introducing ambiguities or unnecessary complexity. The course considers various types of deeds, including boundary descriptions, deeds of easement and riparian boundaries (4 hours)

  17. 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)

  18. 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)

  19. Power, Water and Sewer – Understanding Utility Easements. This course focuses on easements “in gross” associated with municipal and regional utilities. Topics include exclusive vs. non-exclusive rights; overburden and “piggybacking” of additional easements within an existing easement; apportionment of exclusive rights; discovery rule for underground utilities. (4 hours)

  20. Property Boundaries vs. Regulatory Authority. Confusion is common when municipal, state or federal regulations come into apparent conflict with principles associated with  property titles. This class considers this problem as it pertains to: Riparian Issues; Marketable Title; Zoning Restrictions; Wetland Delineation; Buffer Zones; Tax Maps and Railroad Valuation Maps; Floodplain mapping; Recording Statutes; Subdivision Regulations.​ (4 hours)

  21. Public Highways. This class considers the mechanisms that can be applied to create public ways, including express and implied dedication, prescription, Custom and Lost Grant. Corridors created by Legislative act, or by layout and return are included. The latter part of the session examines abandonment, vacation and discontinuance of existing public ways. (4 hours)                                                      

  22. Eminent Domain, the 'Takings Clause,' and the Surveyor. The concept of ‘Eminent Domain’ has become more relevant to land surveyors in recent years. This class considers restrictions against uncompensated takings as found in the U.S. Constitution, and illustrates how these concepts can create unexpected complications for land use professionals. Along with the layout of new gas lines, power lines and highways, associated problems can arise in less obvious circumstances such as construction and maintenance of storm drainage systems or changes in street grades. Street Railroads, Airport easements and flawed legislation can generate additional problems.  (4 hours)                                                                        

  23. Beaches, Bulkheads and Piers. This class is currently under development and will focus on the area between the upland vegetation line of the beach and the pierhead line. This zone may include the dry-sand beach, the foreshore (between the mean high and mean low water mark), tidelands and marshes. It also includes the area below the mean low water mark that may still be subject to rights incident to the upland littoral owner. Bulkhead and pierhead lines as defined by federal and state law are considered, along with property titles associated with permitted fill projects and Legislative grants. (4 hours)                                  

  24. Abandoning a Way. This course considers the extinguishment of roads, railroads, utility corridors and private easements. Various meanings of abandonment, vacation, and disuse are considered.  (full day)                                             

  25. U.S. Forest Service/Government Lands vs. Private Rights. Disputes between State and Federal Government Lands and neighboring private tracts are the subject of this seminar. Boundary and title disputes are considered, along with cases where pre-existing easements--including prescriptive rights or prior dedications--may burden lands later acquired by a unit of government.  (half day).                                                                                                     

  26. Generating Controversy: Hydroelectric Dams, Utilities & Associated Rights. This course focuses on property rights adjacent to reservoirs, including riparian disputes with shorefront landowners; dams and associated infrastructure; power line corridors and transformer facilities.  (4 hours)                                                                     

  27. Call Before You Dig: Surveyor & the Cemetery. Burial grounds create numerous challenges for surveyors and other land use professionals, including determination of the underlying title/estate, relevant state and federal statutes, and access considerations for the descendants.                                           

  28. Shallow Water: Lagoons, Ponds, Canals & Small Streams. This riparian class concentrates on smaller bodies of water (natural and artificial) in the context of underlying title, rights of navigation, & Regulation.                                                                                                     

  29. What I Said vs. What You Heard. (Communications with Judge, Jury, Attorney and Client.) Improved communications skills may minimize or avoid many potential disputes. This class considers both general conduct and sensitive situations where botched communications may be critical. Smooth workflow requires clear, concise and unambiguous communication in letters, contracts & reports. Written, electronic and verbal aspects will be considered. In situations involving litigation, Confidentiality Agreements, Discovery Rules and Ethical considerations may affect the advisability of some discussions and necessitate specific restrictions. A professional approach to Affidavits and verbal testimony in the courtroom will be included.   (4 hrs.)​                                                                                                                                 

  30. When the Rules Don't Work.  This course is a 'smorgasbord' including different areas of retracement and real estate law. Each segment begins with a commonly-quoted "rule" and then focuses on the exceptions, caveats and limitations of the rule. Discussion of Riparian standards, Rules of Construction, Acquiescence & Common Scheme, and The Doctrine of Merger are included.  and  (8 hours)​                                                                                                                                                                             

Don’t see what you’re looking for? Variations on any of the topics listed above can be developed as needed.

All classes are individually researched and customized for the state in which the class will be presented.

"Therefore, in all constructions of certificates, where the expression is doubtful, the natural bounds ought to be adhered to, as the most certain guide to ascertain the matter; that no rule was better established, than that, where the course and distance in a certificate is repugnant to the natural boundary, or is doubtfully expressed; the course must be disregarded, and the bounds adhered to.  "

- Llewellin’s Lessee v. Fendall: 1 H. & McH. 240; 1767

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