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Christensen v. City of Pocatello

    Brief Fact Summary.

    The Christensens appealed the decision of the lower courts that allowed the City of Pocatello to connect a public easement along their property to a bike path.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    An easement cannot be used to benefit property other than the dominant estate.

    Facts.

    Harper road, connected to the Christensens property, was connected to Sewer Lagoon, connected to the Fairchilds property. Harper road was a public road and Sewer Lagoon was owned by Western National Corporation. Ownership of both Sewer Lagoon and Harper Road was transferred to the City of Pocatello, who sought to connect a bike path to both Sewer Lagoon and Harper Road. The Christensens and Fairchilds sued to prevent the City of Pocatello (City) from connecting the easement and Sewer Lagoon from being connected to the bike path. The lower court granted judgment for the City.

    Issue.

    Whether an easement can be used to benefit property outside of the dominant estate?

    Held.

    No. The City’s planned use of the easement is impermissible because it allows bicycle traffic along the dominant estate. The judgment of the lower court is reversed.

    Discussion.

    Law holds that an easement may only be used to serve the dominant estate. Harper Road was only created to allow the Fairchilds to access Sewer Lagoon.


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