Brown bought some land next to Voss, which included an easement
which allowed Brown to use a road across Voss's property.
The original easement was created by an express
Brown also bought a second parcel of land adjacent to the
plot with the easement, and attempted to move their house from the
section of the property that had the easement to the new section.
Access to the second plot of land was never part of the
Turns out, this plot had access to the main road, but no
one ever bothered to bring that up at Trial.
Two years later, as construction of the house was
progressing, Voss sought to bar access to the easement. Brown
Voss claimed that there was never an easement to
allow access to the new section of the Brown's property.
Voss argued that when Brown combined the plot with the easement
with another plot, the easement was void.
The Trial Court found for Brown and ordered Voss to allow
Brown access to the road. Voss appealed.
The Trial Court felt it was ok, as long as the two plots
were developed and used for the purpose of a single family residence.
Brown argued that there was no increased burden on the
subservient estate because there was still only one family that would be
using the road.
The Appellate Court reversed. Brown appealed.
The Appellate Court found that, as a general rule, an easement appurtenant to one
parcel of land may not be extended by the owner to other parcels owned by
him, even if those are adjoining.
The Washington Supreme Court reversed the Appellate Court
and allowed the use of the easement.
As a general rule, if an easement is appurtenant
to a particular parcel of land, any extension thereof to other parcels is
a misuse of the easement.
The Supreme Court agrees that it is only a technical
violation, but that's still a violation.
However, Voss was seeking injunctive relief. The Trial
Court had found that Voss would suffer no hardship or damages from
Brown's actions, while Brown would suffer considerable hardship if not
allowed to use the road.
Since Voss suffered no damages, the Trial Court was
acting within their discretion when allowing Brown access.
Especially since they limited Brown's use of the
combined parcel of land to the same purpose the original parcel had (a
In a dissent, it was argued that misuse of an easement
is trespass. Trespass is a crime and should not be rewarded.
The dissent argued that it's Brown's own fault for buying
land that had no access.