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NEW YORK STATE
REAL PROPERTY ACTIONS AND PROCEEDINGS LAW
(RPAPL)

ARTICLE 3

PROVISIONS RELATING TO EVIDENCE

Section   301.      Conveyance and record as evidence.

          311.      Presumption of possession from legal title.

          321.      Proof of ownership of unoccupied lands and
                    timber thereon.

          331.      Proof of lost execution or writ after
                    sheriff's sale of real property.

          341.      Recitals as to heirships in conveyances.

          342.      Recitals in judgments affecting title to real
                    property as evidence.

          351.      Evidence as to common lands in the city of
                    New York.

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Sec. 301. CONVEYANCE AND RECORD AS EVIDENCE.

1.   The certificate of the acknowledgment or of the proof of a
     conveyance, or the record, or the transcript of the record,
     of such a conveyance, is not conclusive, and it may be
     rebutted, and the effect thereof may be contested, by a
     party affected thereby.

2.   If it appears that the acknowledgment or proof was taken
     upon the oath of an interested or incompetent witness, the
     conveyance, or the record or transcript of the record
     thereof, shall not be received in evidence until its
     execution is established by other competent proof, except in
     a case where the title to the land conveyed or affected by
     such conveyance or instrument has passed to a subsequent
     purchaser for a valuable consideration.


Sec. 311. PRESUMPTION OF POSSESSION FROM LEGAL TITLE.

In an action to recover real property or the possession thereof,
the person who establishes a legal title to the premises is
presumed to have been possessed thereof within the time required
by law; and the occupation of the premises by another person is
deemed to have been under and in subordination to the legal title
unless the premises have been held and possessed adversely to the
legal title for ten years before the commencement of the action.


Sec. 321. PROOF OF OWNERSHIP OF UNOCCUPIED LANDS AND TIMBER
          THEREON.

In all actions to recover the possession of, or otherwise to
determine the title to, or for trespass upon or injury to,
unoccupied lands, timber, trees, or underwood thereon, any party
seeking such recovery or determination may show an unbroken chain
of title for twenty years, or conveyance of the land to himself
more than twenty years next preceding the commencement of the
action or the assertion of the defense or counterclaim except in
actions for trespass, and in actions for trespass for twenty
years next preceding the commission of the trespass or injury,
and such proof shall be presumptive evidence of ownership at the
times respectively of the commencement of such action or
assertion of the defense or counterclaim or commission of such
trespass or injury. Such presumption may be rebutted by any other
or opposing party by showing ownership of said lands, at the
times respectively of the commencement of the action or the
commission of the trespass or injury, in some person other than
the party claiming ownership by virtue of such presumption. In
any such action wherein the state, or any county or any state
officer, board or commission shall be a party, evidence as
aforesaid shall not be deemed to create any presumption of
ownership as against said designated parties.


Sec. 331. PROOF OF LOST EXECUTION OR WRIT AFTER SHERIFF'S SALE OF
          REAL PROPERTY.

Whenever, upon the trial of an action, it shall appear that at
least ten years theretofore real property has been sold by a
sheriff for enforcement of the valid lien thereon of a duly
docketed judgment, and that a certificate of the sale has been
duly made by the sheriff and filed, and that a conveyance in
completion of the purchase has been executed and recorded, but
that the execution or writ by virtue of which the sale has so
been made cannot be found in the office of the clerk with whom
the same should have been filed, then and in such case the
recital of or reference to such execution or writ contained in
the said certificate, or in the said conveyance, or in the record
thereof, shall be prima facie evidence of the said execution or
writ and of the issuance of the same as against any party whose
claim of title is not shown to have been accompanied or supported
by peaceable possession of the premises in controversy for at
least three years immediately preceding the commencement of the
action.


Sec. 341. RECITALS AS TO HEIRSHIPS IN CONVEYANCES.

Hereafter, in any special proceeding or action in any of the
courts of this state, any deed, mortgage, lease, release, power
of attorney or other instrument more than ten years old, executed
for the purpose of transferring the title to or interest in
lands, tenements or hereditaments situated within this state,
which contains recitals that the grantors, grantees, or either,
or both, are the heirs at law of a prior owner of the title or
interest described in said instrument, or a survivor of a tenancy
by the entirety or joint tenancy, shall be presumptive evidence
of said heirship, or of such survivorship, as therein recited, if
such instrument be duly acknowledged or witnessed and proved in
any manner required or permitted at the date of the execution
thereof, and be duly recorded in any county where any part of the
lands described therein shall be located, or duly recorded in the
office of the secretary of state of the state of New York.


Sec. 342. RECITALS IN JUDGMENTS AFFECTING TITLE TO REAL PROPERTY
          AS EVIDENCE.

In any action or special proceeding in any of the courts of this
state, a judgment, decree or order of any court of record, or
made by a judge of any court of record in this state, in any
action affecting the title of real property, which contains
recitals that any acts were done or proceedings had which were
necessary to give to such court or judge jurisdiction or power to
grant such judgment, decree or order, shall be presumptive
evidence that such acts were duly performed or proceedings duly
had, if such judgment, decree or order shall have been duly
entered or filed in the office of the clerk of the county in
which the action or special proceeding was pending wherein such
judgment, decree or order was granted.


Sec. 351. EVIDENCE AS TO COMMON LANDS IN THE CITY OF NEW YORK.

In any action or special proceeding involving a question as to
the situs of any lot of the common lands, so-called, in the city
of New York, the court may, upon the offer of any party, receive
in evidence any evidence which was received in the action
heretofore prosecuted in the superior court of the city of New
York, by Russell D. Miner, and continued by the personal
representatives of the same Russell D. Miner, deceased, against
the city of New York, or in the action in such court between
certain heirs at law of the same Russell D. Miner, deceased, and
Jacob Scholle and others, and also the deposition of Isaac T.
Ludlam, deceased, verified before E. Henry Lacombe, as referee,
upon the fourteenth day of November, eighteen hundred seventy-
eight, in an action in such court by Hester Sherman and others,
against Thomas Kane and others; provided that the testimony of a
witness shall not be admissible, under the provisions of this
section until the court is satisfied that such witness has
heretofore died; and provided further, that no provision of this
section shall give to any documentary evidence introduced in
connection with any former testimony any greater or different
effect than may be due to it by reason of the testimony relative
thereto. Such evidence may be introduced in any mode established
by the practice of the courts for the introduction of testimony
given upon a former trial, by a witness who has since died, or by
reading from the printed cases on appeal, heretofore filed in the
office of the clerk of the superior court of the city of New
York.




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