734-359-7018
Now Accepting New Clients!
Blog

REAL ESTATE 69: Holding that the trial court did not err when it declined to order plaintiffs to obtain a new land survey to mark the boundaries of the easement, the court affirmed the trial court’s order.

BACKGROUND

The instant dispute arises out of an express easement that was created by a 1989 consent judgment, which settled litigation between the parties’ predecessors in interest. After the parties’ mistake concerning the boundaries of the easement was discovered, Defendant began blocking the easement with railroad ties and hazard cones. The Plaintiffs initiated a quiet title action against Defendant, alleging that the Plaintiffs had, by way of prescriptive use for more than 15 years, obtained an easement to use Defendant’s driveway as it was situated before MDOT’s 2013 repairs. Following a five-day bench trial, the trial court held that “[t]he proofs presented at trial establish the Plaintiffs have met all of the requirements to establish a prescriptive easement over the disputed wedge of the property.” The trial court ordered Defendant to “immediately remove all impediments” to the Plaintiffs’ use of the driveway and prohibited Defendant “from interfering with [the Plaintiffs’] use, maintenance or restoration of the driveway[.]” Thereafter, Defendant filed a motion in the trial court, alleging that the Plaintiffs had unilaterally removed markers that represented the boundaries of the easement that were put in place after the original survey of the property was conducted. Defendant requested that the trial court order the Plaintiffs to pay for a new land survey to properly mark the boundaries of the Plaintiffs’ easement on Defendant’s property. The Plaintiffs opposed the motion, arguing that Defendant was seeking to relitigate issues that had already been decided. In a November 8, 2019 order, the trial court declined to order the Plaintiffs to pay for a new land survey. In doing so, the trial court stated as follows: [I]n its 2018 Opinion, the Court of Appeals held that the legal description of the easement from 1989 is no longer valid as the parties acquiesced to a slightly different location of the easement than that contained in the legal description. As a result, the survey based on the 1989 legal description is not a valid survey, and any survey stakes which were in the easement—as acquiesced to—should have been removed to avoid obstructing the easement. [Defendant] has failed to establish that any stakes not in the easement were removed, or that any related damage occurred. The request to order a new survey of the now obsolete 1989 legal description is denied.

ANALYSIS

On appeal, Defendant only seeks to challenge the trial court’s decision to deny his motion to require the Plaintiffs to pay for a land survey to properly mark the boundaries of the easement. However, this issue is not properly before this Court because it is outside the scope of appeal from the November 8, 2019 order. Nonetheless, for purposes of judicial economy, we will consider Defendant’s arguments. On appeal, Defendant argues that a new land survey was necessary because the original legal description of the easement was invalidated, and the parties are unable to ascertain the actual physical boundaries of the easement. We conclude that Defendant’s argument is abandoned because Defendant altogether fails to support his argument on appeal with any legal authority. Furthermore, we fail to see how a new land survey was necessary. During the bench trial, detailed drawings of the dimensions of the easement were introduced into evidence; the drawings depicted the parties’ use of the easement following the entry of the 1989 consent judgment. After the bench trial, the trial court held that “[t]he proofs presented at trial establish the Plaintiffs have met all of the requirements to establish a prescriptive easement over the disputed wedge of the property.” Although this Court determined that the trial court improperly concluded that an easement by prescription was created, this Court affirmed the trial court’s ultimate conclusion that the boundaries of the easement, as described in the 1989 consent judgment, were modified by the parties’ conduct. Consequently, we fail to see how a new survey to mark the boundaries of the easement was required. If certain boundary lines “have been acquiesced in for a sufficient length of time, they fix the ‘true line’ as matter of fact and as matter of law.” Based upon the foregoing, we conclude that the trial court did not err when it declined to order the Plaintiffs to obtain a new land survey to mark the boundaries of the easement.

ASSISTANCE WITH PROPERTY ISSUES

Are you involved in a real estate dispute in Michigan? Are you seeking resolution to a property litigation matter?

If you are facing a residential or commercial real estate issue, seek the advice of an experienced and skilled real estate litigation attorney at Aldrich Legal Services.

Contact Aldrich Legal Services

Speak to a Pro: (734) 404-3000

Basic responsibilities of an executor

Originally posted on 01/11/2017 The emotional toils of dealing with the death of a loved one can be considerably difficult. Nevertheless, perseverance is paramount; especially if you are appointed to be an executor to one’s...

What you need to compliment your will

Originally posted on 02/08/2017 Making end-of-life plans usually end with a will, but they shouldn't. Some believe that simply having a will is enough. However, this post will briefly explain how having other estate planning...

The benefits of home health care providers

Originally posted on 03/22/2017 As we get older or suffer an injury, we need a little extra help. Home health care providers or caregivers can provide the assistance needed to handle your or your loved one's health and safety...

What to know about bail conditions

Originally posted on 03/06/2017 If you have been arrested and are being held on the suspicion that you have committed a particular crime, chances are that the only thing you are thinking about is getting out of jail as soon as possible and...

College students and estate planning

Originally posted on 12/16/2016 With college semesters starting up in Michigan, it may not be so easy to get college students to think responsibly. This time can be especially tough with the need of moving back to school and getting...

Three reasons to put a power of attorney in place

Originally posted on 11/08/2016 While no one wants to think of the unfortunate possibility of being incapacitated or of a time when we can't handle our own affairs, this circumstance is a real possibility. If something happens and this...

How to approach parents about estate planning

Originally posted on 12/09/2016 Family forms a strong foundation for many people's first and most intimate community. It is important to strengthen these first relationships so even uncommon questions become natural. For those...

PROBATE 44: Petition for Mental Health Treatment

Michigan’s Mental Health Code governs the civil admission and discharge procedures for a person with a mental illness. Specifically, MCL 330.1434 sets forth the procedure and content requirements for a petition for mental health treatment.

Should you get your criminal record expunged?

Originally posted on 04/12/2017 If you have been convicted of a crime, have served your sentence, and have followed all court recommendations, you should be able to put your past behind you and move on with life. Moving forward is critical...

Choosing the right executor for an estate

Originally posted on 05/28/2017 When people are thinking about planning their estate, they often think about trying to minimize the estate tax, keeping their will updated, and keeping items out of probate court; however, there is another...

Understanding how the Miranda warning works

Originally posted on 11/25/2016 Michigan residents who have seen television police shows or movies involving law enforcement have no doubt watched many dramatic scenes with officers quoting something to the effect of, "You have the...

Don't let a bad decision, unfair contract, or a messy divorce get in the way of a promising future!
Contact the experienced team at Aldrich Legal Services today to schedule your free initial
consultation
and secure reliable and trustworthy representation today!
Get the Help You Need From a Team You Can Truly Count On: (734) 404-3000
734-237-6482
734-366-4405