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Brown v. Voss

Law Dictionary

Law Dictionary

Featuring Black's Law Dictionary 2nd Ed.
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Property Law Keyed to Dukeminier

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 105 Wn.2d 366, 715 P.2d 514, 1986 Wash.

Brief Fact Summary. TheBrowns (Plaintiffs) brought an action to remove obstructions placed on a private road access to their properties parcel B and parcel C. The Voss family (Defendants) owned the servient estate, parcel A on which there was private road easement to access the dominant estate, parcel B. Defendants sought to prevent Plaintiffs use of that easement because the road was being used to access a third piece of property, parcel C, that was not part of the dominant estate.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. Based on the equities, Plaintiffs would not be enjoined from using the easement to access parcel C, although it was a technical misuse of the easement which by express grant only to gave access the residence on parcel B.

Facts. When Plaintiffs acquired parcel B there was a single-family dwelling. Plaintiffs planned to remove that house and build another single family house that would straddle the boundary of parcel B and parcel C. In the express grant of the easement creating the private road, Parcel B was the dominant estate which benefited from the easement over Defendant’s servient estate, Parcel A. Parcel C thus was not technically involved or contemplated in the original easement and was not in title part of the dominant estate. The Trial Court found there was no increase in the volume of travel to reach a single family dwelling whether it was strictly on parcel B or on parcel B and parcel C. Defendants sought to enjoin the plaintiffs from using the private road to access their home being constructed on the boundary of parcel B and parcel C. The trial court had found parcel C would be landlocked if an injunction were granted.

Issue. Whether the holder of a private road easement can cross the servient estate to access both the dominant estate and an additional estate that was acquired later if the two estates are used in such a way that there is no increase in burden on the servient estate.
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