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Granite Properties Limited Partnership v. Manns

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Property Law Keyed to Cribbet

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 22 Ill.117 Ill. 2d 425 (1987)

Brief Fact Summary. Granite Properties Limited Partnership (Plaintiff) brought suit against Larry and Ann Manns (Defendants) to permanently enjoin Defendants from interfering with the use of two driveways to which Plaintiff claims easements.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. An easement may be implied by prior use even if the conveyor of a parcel, which was once contiguous, is the claimant of the easement.

Facts. An apartment complex and a shopping center are situated on Plaintiff’s property. One driveway connects the rear of the shopping center to a public road and runs partly across Defendant’s land. The other driveway connects the apartment complex’s parking lot to another public road and also runs partly across Defendant’s land. [note: page 518 of the text contains an extremely useful diagram of the properties in question as they relate to one another]. The Plaintiff and its predecessors in title owned the entire parcel from 1963 until 1982 when a parcel situated behind the grocery store and between the grocery store and the apartment complex was sold to Defendants by warranty deed. Thus, the Plaintiff owns parcels that lie on opposite sides of the parcel owned by Defendants. The Defendant’s parcel remains undeveloped, but both of the Plaintiff’s properties (apartment complex and grocery store inside shopping center) were developed prior to Defendant’s deed. The first claimed easem
ent allows access to the rear of the shopping center. The rear of the shopping center is used for deliveries, trash storage and pick-up, and utilities repair. Trucks use a gravel driveway, which runs along the lot lime to gain access to the shopping center. A second portion of that driveway allows trucks space to circle the shopping center rather than trying to turn around in the limited space behind the shopping center. The grocery store owner testified that an average of 10 to 12 trucks per day use the driveway behind the store to make deliveries and that it would be difficult for a truck to turn around in the rear of the store. The owner of the store also testified that it would be very difficult and disruptive to make front door deliveries insofar as the pallets and forklifts could not operate in such a space. The other easement claimed by Plaintiff, is a driveway that leads into the parking area of the apartment complex owned by Plaintiffs, which cuts across a small panhandle on
the corner of Defendants’ lot. A witness for the Plaintiff testified that it would be dangerous to the tenants if the Plaintiff was forced to build driveways between the apartment complex buildings. The lower court granted an easement as to the apartment complex driveway, but denied an easement as to the shopping center driveway. The intermediate appellate court held that Plaintiff was entitled to easements over both driveways.

Issue. Should the Plaintiff be allowed to claim the easements as arising by implied reservation from prior usage, even though the Plaintiff sold the land upon which the easements is claimed?

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