Constant Traffic Across Property Should Have Alerted Landowners Of Adverse Use

Wednesday, December 27, 2017 9:27 am
Land Use Law Report, Volume 46, Number 1

Landowners established a prescriptive easement by demonstrating that commercial and heavy-duty vehicles used the road at least five days a week for 31 years.

Facts: Dennis D. Murphy, as trustee of the Holmes Road Realty Trust (Trust), sued the Trust’s neighbors to establish a prescriptive easement across their properties. The Trust sought a 40-foot-wide right-of-way across land owned by John F. Chaves, Sr. and John F. Chaves, Jr. (Chaveses) The easement in question is a partially paved and partially graded dirt road that the Trust’s predecessors-in-interest began in 1968 to access their property. Five days a week, heavy equipment, passenger vehicles, tractor trailers, and dump trucks have used the road to access the Trust’s property. The Trust and its predecessors maintained the road by grading the dirt surfaces, leveling the roadway, and fixing cracks and potholes in the asphalt.

The Chaveses didn’t put up much of a fight over the existence of the [..]