Sunday, April 28, 2013

Schwab v. Timmons case brief

Schwab v. Timmons case brief summary
589 N.W.2d 1

CASE SYNOPSIS: Petitioner landowners appealed an order from the court of appeals (Wisconsin), which affirmed the circuit court's dismissal of their declaratory judgment action requesting an easement by necessity or by implication for both ingress and egress and utilities over the properties owned by respondent landowners in order to gain access to their landlocked property.

FACTS: Petitioner landowners brought a declaratory judgment action against respondent landowners for a determination that petitioners were entitled to an easement by necessity or implication so that they could gain access to their landlocked property. The circuit court denied the petition on the basis that the circumstances did not fit the typical situation from which ways of necessity were implied and that even if they did, the easement would not have survived because it was not recorded. The court of appeals affirmed.

On appeal, the state supreme court affirmed, holding that petitioners failed to establish an easement by implication because the private road petitioners sought to extend did not and had never extended to petitioners' properties.

The court also determined that petitioners failed to establish an easement by necessity, because the United States, petitioners' grantor, never severed a landlocked portion of its property that was inaccessible from a public roadway. Instead, petitioners themselves conveyed away their highway access. The court failed to find an easement by necessity due to the cliff and rocky terrain inhibiting access to the parcel.

CONCLUSION: The court affirmed the court of appeals' decision dismissing petitioner landowners' declaratory judgment action, because petitioners failed to establish entitlement to an easement by implication or by necessity either because of actions by petitioners' grantor or by geographical barriers.

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