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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.


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as follows: [I]n its 2018 Opinion, the Court of Appeals held that the legal description of the easement from 1989 is no longer valid as the parties acquiesced to a slightly different location of the easement than that contained in the legal description.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.


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.


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