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Property II Professor Donald J. Kochan. Spring 2009 Class 38 11 February 2009. Today’s Material. Introduction to Servitudes Easements Pages 667-715. Hovenkamp & Kurtz. Suggested Non-Required but Recommended Supplemental Material:

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Property II Professor Donald J. Kochan

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Property IIProfessor Donald J. Kochan

Spring 2009

Class 38

11 February 2009


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Today’s Material

  • Introduction to Servitudes

  • Easements

  • Pages 667-715


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Hovenkamp & Kurtz

Suggested Non-Required but Recommended Supplemental Material:

The H&K hornbook (see your Syllabus) isextremely helpful on these (and other) topics

Seehttp://west.thomson.com/productdetail/128860/22048674/productdetail.aspx

(The Fifth Edition is just as good if you can find it used.)


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Servitides

Three Principal Types:

  • Easements

  • Real Covenants

  • Equitable Servitudes


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Servitudes and Dominant and Servient Estates

  • Definitional Terms that you must understand

    Very generally:

  • Dominant is the person or property benefited by the use, disuse, or other burden on another’s property

  • Servient is the person or property that is burdened by giving up a stick to another – they must either do something or refrain from doing something for the benefit of another or must allow another to do something on their property


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Historical Background of Easements

  • Medieval Period

  • Communal System v. Private Property

  • Agricultural basis

  • Profits

  • From common fields and shared pastures to fenced fields and consolidated farms

  • Affirmative and Negative Easements – Understand the difference


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Easements Generally

  • This provides some useful information as a supplemental introduction:

    http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/easement


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Restatement (Third) of Property: Servitudes

“§ 1.2   Easement And Profit Defined

(1) An easement creates a nonpossessory right to enter and use land in the possession of another and obligates the possessor not to interfere with the uses authorized by the easement.

(2) A profit à prendre is an easement that confers the right to enter and remove timber, minerals, oil, gas, game, or other substances from land in the possession of another. It is referred to as a “profit” in this Restatement.

(3) The burden of an easement or profit is always appurtenant. The benefit may be either appurtenant or in gross.

(4) As used in this Restatement, the term “  easement” includes an irrevocable license to enter and use land in the possession of another and excludes a negative easement. A negative easement is included in the term “restrictive covenant”


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From Westlaw and Black’s Law Dictionary Definitions

  • “Easement (eez-m<<schwa>>nt). An interest in land owned by another person, consisting in the right to use or control the land, or an area above or below it, for a specific limited purpose (such as to cross it for access to a public road). • The land benefiting from an easement is called the dominant estate; the land burdened by an easement is called the servient estate. Unlike a lease or license, an easement may last forever, but it does not give the holder the right to possess, take from, improve, or sell the land. The primary recognized easements are (1) a right-of-way, (2) a right of entry for any purpose relating to the dominant estate, (3) a right to the support of land and buildings, (4) a right of light and air, (5) a right to water, (6) a right to do some act that would otherwise amount to a nuisance, and (7) a right to place or keep something on the servient estate. See SERVITUDE (1). Cf. PROFIT A PRENDRE. -- Also termed private right-of-way. [Cases: Easements 1. C.J.S. Easements §§ 2-8, 13-14, 21-22, 24, 53-55, 57-58, 89.]”


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From Westlaw and Black’s Law Dictionary Definitions

  • “private easement. An easement whose enjoyment is restricted to one specific person or a few specific people. [Cases: Easements 52. C.J.S. Easements §§ 164-167.]”

  • “public easement. An easement for the benefit of an entire community, such as the right to travel down a street or a sidewalk.”


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From Westlaw and Black’s Law Dictionary Definitions

  • “affirmative easement. An easement that forces the servient-estate owner to permit certain actions by the easement holder, such as discharging water onto the servient estate. -- Also termed positive easement. Cf. negative easement.

       ’Positive easements give rights of entry upon the land of another, not amounting to profits, to enable something to be done on that land. Some are commonplace, examples being rights of way across the land of another and rights to discharge water on to the land of another. Others are more rare, such as the right to occupy a pew in a church, the right to use a kitchen situated on the land of another for the purpose of washing and drying clothes, and the right to use a toilet situated on the land of another.’ Peter Butt, Land Law 305 (2d ed. 1988).”

  • “negative easement. An easement that prohibits the servient-estate owner from doing something, such as building an obstruction. Cf. affirmative easement. [Cases: Covenants 20; Easements 13. C.J.S. Easements § 59.]

        ’Negative easements ... confer no right of entry, but consist essentially of the right to prevent something being done; examples are the right to the flow of air through defined aperture, the right to receive light for a building, the right to the support of a building, and (possibly) the right to require a neighbouring landowner to repair fences.’ Peter Butt, Land Law 305 (2d ed. 1988).”


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From Westlaw and Black’s Law Dictionary Definitions

“reciprocal negative easement. An easement created when a landowner sells part of the land and restricts the buyer's use of that part, and, in turn, that same restriction is placed on the part kept by the landowner. • Such an easement usu. arises when the original landowner creates a common scheme of development for smaller tracts that are carved out of the original tract. [Cases: Covenants 20; Easements 13. C.J.S. Easements § 59.]”


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Appurtenant v. In Gross

  • Appurtenant = attached to and runs with the land; transferee receives the benefit and the burdened property owner remains burdened despite the change in ownership

  • In Gross = attached to a person and may be alienable but presumed not; a personal benefit; does not necessarily run with the land and usually does not; the “I trust you but not necessarily your successor” situation

  • Realize that each is very fact specific


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Appurtenant v. In Gross (cont.)

  • ALWAYS analyze scope – the dominant, however the transfer, can never expand the scope of the originally agreed easement regardless of whether it runs with the land or not; thus, the first steps are:

    • Determine if it is appurtenant or in gross

    • Define the Scope of Use

    • Define the scope of the dominant’s rights to assign or otherwise transfer

    • Determine if it runs with the land

    • Determine if a subsequent purchaser can take the benefit of the easement

    • Determine if the use is consistent with original intent and agreement

    • Determine whether any new uses add a new or unintended burden on the servient estate – because of user or type of use


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From Westlaw and Black’s Law Dictionary Definitions

“easement appurtenant. An easement created to benefit another tract of land, the use of easement being incident to the ownership of that other tract. -- Also termed appurtenant easement; appendant easement; pure easement; easement proper. Cf. easement in gross. [Cases: Easements 3. C.J.S. Easements §§ 4, 10-11, 20.]”

“easement in gross. An easement benefiting a particular person and not a particular piece of land. • The beneficiary need not, and usu. does not, own any land adjoining the servient estate. Cf. easement appurtenant. [Cases: Easements 3. C.J.S. Easements §§ 4, 10-11, 20.]”


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Creation of Easements

  • Express

  • Implied

  • Estoppel

  • Prescription

  • But ALWAYS focus on SCOPE regardless of the method of creation


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Right-of-Way Examples for Easements

DG>

>

>

>

>

>

____________________>___________________________________________________

\ >\ >>>>>>>\>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>>>>>>

DG or DA\S\B

\\\\

\\

\\

<<<<<<<\<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<\<<<<<<<<<<<< R

\\

_________________________________________________________________________

DG = Dominant in gross

DA = Dominant appurtenant

S = Servient

B = Beach

R = Road

Consider all Permutations on Diagram


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From Westlaw and Black’s Law Dictionary Definitions

“access easement. An easement allowing one or more persons to travel across another's land to get to a nearby location, such as a road. • The access easement is a common type of easement by necessity. -- Also termed easement of access; easement of way; easement of passage.”


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Willard v. First Church of Christ, Scientist

  • Church/Parking Lot case

  • Reservation in a property to for “a stranger to the title” case

  • “our primary objective in construing a conveyance is to try to give intent to the grantor. . . .”

  • What burdens follow with a sale?

  • Ambiguity issues

  • Reliance issues

  • Easements created in favor of a Third Party Issues

  • Extinguishment Issues

  • Note 1 and Note 4 following the case are important


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Licenses Distinguished

  • What is a license? Understand Nature of the Interest

  • “A license is oral or written permission given by the occupant of land allowing the licensee to do some act that otherwise would be a trespass.” D&K

  • Plumber, dinner or barbecue guest, theater, housesitter examples, etc.

  • Primary Issue of Distinction Relates to Revocability – A license is generally revocable while an easement is not

  • Involves a CONTRACT right to go upon or use another’s land, rather than a PROPERTY right

  • Property Remedies v. Contract Remedies for the Licensee and Licensor


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Holbrook v. Taylor

  • Coal haul road/right-of-way case

  • Estoppel issues – when, if ever, does a license turn into an easement? What is the distinction?

  • Reliance Issues

  • Prescription distinguished


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Shepard v. Purvine

  • Arm’s Length Issues

  • Necessity for a formalization of an easement agreement to avoid the revocability of a mere license


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Henry v. Dalton

  • Intent issues – what arrangement was intended?

  • Statute of Frauds as an important method for determining whether or not property should be bound

  • Revocable or Irrevocable Rights

  • Nature of the Grant of Use

  • See Notes re Restatement regarding estoppel following cases


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Van Sandt v. Royster

  • Underground Lateral Sewage Drain Case

  • One issue is whether it is appurtenant

  • Implied grants and implied reservations – when and how do they rise to enforceable easements?

  • Notice how the court focuses on intent of the parties


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Implied and “Quasi” Easements

  • From the text:

    “Easements are implied in two basic situations. In the first situation the easement is implied on the basis of an apparent and continuous (or permanent) use of a portion of the tract existing when the tract is divided. The existing use is often described as a ‘quasi-easement.’ The easement is implied to protect the probable expectations of the grantor and grantee that the existing use will continue past the transfer. . . . In the second situation the easement is implied when the court finds the claimed easement is necessary to the enjoyment of the claimant’s land and that the necessity arose when the claimed dominant parcel was severed from the claimed servient parcel. This kind of implied easement is known as an easement by necessity . . .”

  • Should we protect the continuation of existing uses?

  • Intentions and expectations of the parties key


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From Westlaw and Black’s Law Dictionary Definitions

  • “easement by estoppel. A court-ordered easement created from a voluntary servitude after a person, mistakenly believing the servitude to be permanent, acted in reasonable reliance on the mistaken belief. [Cases: Estoppel 82. C.J.S. Estoppel § 90.]”

  • “equitable easement. 1. An implied easement created by equity when adjacent lands have been created out of a larger tract. • Such an easement is usu. created to allow implied privileges to continue. [Cases: Easements 16. C.J.S. Easements §§ 3, 61-65, 68-71, 74, 79-81, 88.] 2. See restrictive covenant (1) under COVENANT (4).”

  • “implied easement. An easement created by law after an owner of two parcels of land uses one parcel to benefit the other to such a degree that, upon the sale of the benefited parcel, the purchaser could reasonably expect the use to be included in the sale. -- Also termed easement by implication; way of necessity. [Cases: Easements 15-19. C.J.S. Easements §§ 3, 13, 61-88, 90-109, 149.]”


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Othen v. Rosier

  • Roadway Easement Case

  • By Necessity and By Prescription Issues

  • Implication of Easement at Sale/Notice of Encumbrance

  • Consent/Reliance Issues

  • Fencing

  • Intent Issues

  • Doctrine of Strict Necessity – mere convenience is insufficient


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Easements by Necessity

  • Means the creation of an easement mandated by law and not by private negotiation – When is it appropriate because it places a burden on another?

  • Define whether necessity exists

  • Strict Necessity v. Convenience Distinction

  • See Notes regarding issue of duration

  • Landlocked property issues (“I can’t get in, I can’t get out!”), including knowledge upon acquisition and whether price was discounted (buyer beware and unjust enrichment issues)

  • See the Note regarding Leo Sheep Co. – Why does the existence of the power of eminent domain make a difference? (in considering that, also go back to the NGA 7(h) example from Class 30 (mining v. natural gas example))


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From Westlaw and Black’s Law Dictionary Definitions

“easement by necessity. An easement created by operation of law because the easement is indispensable to the reasonable use of nearby property, such as an easement connecting a parcel of land to a road. -- Also termed easement of necessity; necessary way. [Cases: Easements 18. C.J.S. Easements §§ 63, 69, 75-77, 91-97, 99-101, 103-109.]”


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Easements by Necessity (cont.)

Supplemental Case Study:

Tolksdorf v. Griffith, 464 Mich. 1, 626 N.W.2d 163 (Mich. 2001) (Private Roads Act in Michigan found unconstitutional) (recognize relationship with takings law and the “public use” clause)

For Non-Required Supplemental Reading, see:http://coa.courts.mi.gov/DOCUMENTS/OPINIONS/FINAL/SCT/20010515_S115032(52)_tolksdorf.PDF

Michigan Supreme Court


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Easements by Prescription

  • Similarities and overlaps with adverse possession – “in many ways is similar to adverse possession but in some ways distinctly different” D&K

  • Lost Grant Legal Fiction – What is a “Legal Fiction”?

  • Acquiescence, Permission, and Adversity Issues

  • Factual Evidence of Interruption and the Legal Effect

  • Permissive v. Adverse Use

  • Public Prescriptive Easements: The Beach Access Examples

  • Highly Fact-Specific


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From Westlaw and Black’s Law Dictionary Definitions

“prescriptive easement. An easement created from an open, adverse, and continuous use over a statutory period. -- Also termed easement by prescription; adverse easement. See ADVERSE POSSESSION. [Cases: Easements 5-11. C.J.S. Easements §§ 13-51.]”


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Matthews v.Bay Head Improvement Ass’n

  • Public Trust Doctrine – sovereignty over tidal waters (and the ebb and flow) vested in the State in trust for the people

  • Public’s right of use over beachfront property

  • Extension of the Public Trust Doctrine to public use of dry-sand areas

  • Public Access Across Private Land to Public Waters


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Assignability of Easements

“The benefits and burdens of appurtenant easements pass automatically to assignees of the land to which they are appurtenant, if the parties so intend and the burdened party has notice of the easement. Where the benefit is in gross, however, the benfit may not be assignable.”

D&K


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Miller v. Lutheran Conference & Camp Ass’n

  • Scope – Boating & Fishing Rights; but Bathing?

  • Explicit issues; Unilateral Expansion of Scope and Burden on Servient Tenement

  • expressio unius est exclusio alterius – the expression of one is the exclusion of another; key interpretive phrase for deeds and statutes that you MUST know

  • Yet, how does prescription play a role?

  • “One Stock” Rule


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Public Utility Easements

  • Often exist as encumbrances on private property

  • Power Lines, Pipelines, Sewers, etc.

  • Many individuals are unaware

  • My childhood tree anecdote


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Concluding Remarks

  • Continue to examine easements in the next class

  • Later, be able to distinguish them from other types of servitudes


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