Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Van Sandt v. Royster case brief

Van Sandt v. Royster case brief summary
83 P.2d 698 (1938)

Plaintiff landowner appealed the order of the Neosho district court (Kansas), which denied his request for an injunction to prohibit defendant neighbors from maintaining and using an underground lateral sewer drain that crossed the landowner's property to reach the municipal sewer main. The trial court found that an appurtenant easement existed in the lateral sewer as to all three of the properties involved in the controversy.

The landowner knew that his house was connected to a sewer when he purchased it but was unaware of the location of a lateral sewer drain that ran through his property or the fact that the drain had been constructed 30 years earlier for the use of neighboring properties as well as his own. There was no mention of an easement in any deed. The problem arose when sewage backed up into his basement.


  • On appeal, the court held that when an owner utilized part of his land for the benefit of another part, a quasi easement existed, and that if the owner conveyed the quasi dominant tenement, an easement corresponding to the quasi easement was ordinarily regarded as vested in the grantee, provided that it was of an apparent continuous and necessary character. 
  • The court held that parties were assumed to intend the continuance of uses that were in a considerable degree necessary to the continued usefulness of the land, especially those necessary uses that had so altered the premises as to make them apparent upon reasonably prudent investigation. 
  • The court found that the existence of plumbing fixtures and lines in the landowner's house made the easement apparent although it was not visible.

The court affirmed the judgment of the trial court that an easement by implication had been created by the common predecessor of the parties. The court did not reach the issue of an easement by prescription.

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