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Crane v. Crane

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Plaintiffs held grazing permits, which they acquired from a predecessor who used the road that ran through Defendant’s property to drive cattle since 1950. Plaintiffs sued Defendant, claiming an easement by prescription, in order to also use the dirt road to drive their cattle to a grazing area in the national park. The trial court held that the Plaintiffs did have an easement by prescription to use the road solely to drive the cattle.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    An easement in gross can be transferred by sale or descent if the easement is commercial in nature.

    Facts.

    Plaintiffs are holders of cattle grazing permits in the Water Hollow C & H Allotment, which they obtained from a predecessor. Plaintiffs use a dirt road that passes through Defendants’ property to reach the grazing area located in the national park. Plaintiffs predecessor had used the same road to drive cattle since 1950. Plaintiffs claimed an easement by prescription to continue using the road.

    Issue.

    Whether an easement in gross can be transferred by sale or descent.

    Held.

    Yes. The lower court’s ruling is affirmed. Easements in gross can be transferred by sale or descent, even though they are generally personal to the holder.

    Discussion.

    An easement is commercial in nature if its use is primarily for economic benefit rather than personal. Raising and grazing of cattle are commercial activities. Here, the road in question is used for driving cattle to the grazing area, therefore the easement in question is commercial in nature and is transferrable.


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