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To resolve this type of dispute, you would be filing a suit to "quiet title" it is a separate and distinct part of the Code of Civil Procedure dedicated specifically to clearing issues related to real property title. You are required to name as defendants in your suit any party that claims, or may claim an interest in the property that is adverse to the one you are claiming (a walkway or pathway easement, or a pathway that actually belongs to the property - my apologies I am not entirely clear on the description of the property, but for our purposes, the distinction is unimportant).
The biggest issue you are facing is one of "adverse possession" a claim that your neighbor may raise where they have blocked the path for an extended period of time, and therefore they are entitled to exclusive possession of the property, and your easement, or property interest is extinguished (regardless as to what your deed says). You can find a helpful article describing this doctrine here: http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/row/landsurveys/Study_material/California-Adverse-Possession.pdf
In California, the use must be for at least 5 years, and must be exclusive during that time. This time period begins to run at the time when the other property owner first took action to use the property exclusively and blocked you or your predecessors from using the pathway.
With the above being said, these cases are always fact specific, Courts are prone to rule against adverse possession claims that unfairly take away from another party's rights, and the elements of an adverse possession action must be met exactly in order to establish title in that manner.
If you purchased title insurance at the time that you purchased your home, you can tender the claim to your title insurance carrier, they should defend the matter on your behalf. (Just write a letter to them asking them to take care of the issue, you can send it to the insurance company directly or to the broker that sold you the policy).
I hope the above is helpful, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to let me know and I will follow up quickly.
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I did not clearly state that the path is 'not deeded.' It is my understanding that this makes it public, and that public land cannot be acquired by adverse possession.
Similarly, the title company told me that they did not insure the path, or my right to use the path.
does this information change your advice (i.e., neighbor's defense or use of a quiet title action). Also, are there any statute of limitation issues.
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