Thursday, December 1, 2022

Dietrich Int’l Truck Sales, Inc. v. J.S. & J. Servs., Inc. Case Brief Summary

Summary of the Key Points

A tenant of leased property cannot obtain an easement by prescription, according to the California Court of Appeal, because the landlord cannot enter the premises to prevent the easement by prescription form from taking place until the lease is terminated.

Overview of the Rule of Law.

A tenant who owns the property cannot sue the landlord for an easement by prescription.


The plaintiff, Dietrich International Truck Sales, Inc., runs a repair and sales truck store near a truck stop or terminal station. The terminal currently possesses a 49-year lease with Brown (Defendant) as its landlord. Dietrich had driven large trucks to get them serviced for years using a road. The Terminal's land was followed by the road. Dietrich currently asserts an easement. An environmental regulation forced the Terminal to install new tanks.  The action that was suggested was to construct a barrier in the area of Dietrich's alleged easement. Dietrich filed a lawsuit to silence the title. Dietrich won the trial court's verdict. Brown and terminal were appealing.

whether a tenant in possession can petition the landlord for a prescription easement?

No. In support of Brown's argument that the landlord does not have legal access to the property during a lease to prevent the easement, the court rules in Brown's favor. The court refers to a California regulation that expresses a landowner can't impede outsiders from getting easements while an occupant is under lock and key. Consequently, the court switches the judgment against Brown the property manager, yet maintains the easement against Terminal.

Because terminal is not the landlord, the court grants the easement against them because they might have quieted title when they saw the plaintiff using their property for a right of way.

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