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Citation. 22 Ill.148 Cal. 516, 83 P. 808 (1906)
Brief Fact Summary. Defendants were granted a license by Plaintiff to enter Plaintiff’s land and construct an irrigation ditch, and thereafter Plaintiff revoked the license and sued to have Defendants adjudged trespassers. Facts.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. When a licensee undertakes significant cost and effort to make improvements to the land of another under an oral license, the court may find that such a license is not revocable at will of the licensor because the character of the license has changed to an easement.
In 1899, Defendants entered onto the land of Plaintiff, pursuant to an oral license, and built a ditch which was for irrigation. In 1900, Plaintiff revoked the license and served notice to Defendants. The Defendants have continuously disregarded this revocation and have entered onto Plaintiff’s land for the purpose of maintaining the ditch. The Defendants have threatened to continue to do so. The Defendants spent more than seven thousand dollars constructing the ditch. The lower court found that Plaintiff had granted a right of way to Defendants for the construction and maintenance of the ditch, and that there was consideration for the granting of the right of way in the form of an agreement that Defendants would construct a canal for the irrigation of Plaintiff’s land. Issue.
Is the license revocable at the will of Plaintiff?