Friday, March 23, 2012

Holbrook v. Taylor case brief

Holbrook v. Taylor case brief summary
532 S.W.2d 763 (Ky. 1976)

Appellee homeowners filed an action against appellant landowners to establish a right to the use of a roadway. The homeowners claimed a right to the use of the roadway by prescription and by estoppel. The trial court (Kentucky) determined that a right to the use of the roadway by prescription had not been established, but that it had been established by estoppel. The landowners appealed.


The homeowners built a residence on property adjoining the landowners' property. With the permission of the landowners, the homeowners used and maintained an access road owned by the landowners during the period of home construction. After the construction, the homeowners continued to use the roadway to access the public highway. 


  • The court found that the trial court was fully justified in finding that the right to the use of this easement was not established by prescription when there was no probative evidence which indicated that the use of the roadway was either adverse, continuous, or uninterrupted. 
  • However, the court held that the evidence justified the finding of the trial court that the right to the use of the roadway had been established by estoppel. 
  • The use of the roadway by the homeowners to get to their home from the public highway, the use of the roadway for the construction of the residence, the general improvement of the premises, and the maintenance of the roadway, all with the actual consent of the landowners or at least with their tacit approval, clearly established that the license to use the subject roadway could not have been revoked.
The judgment is affirmed.

-Ds gave permission for a haul road to be constructed on their property. The road to be used by nearby mine, D, and D’s tenant. Ps purchased the adjacent lot and used road to construct home. After home complete, Ps cont. use of road, made improvements/maint. Dispute arose when D blocked the road (wanted $). Ps claimed easement by estoppel.

  1. Rule: Where use of a roadway, improvements to and maint. of a roadway all have occurred with the tacit approval of the landowner, the landowner is estopped from barring access to the improving party.

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