Category Archives: Easements

Neighbors Sue Over Adjoining Driveway Easement Dispute

Did Chain Link Fence Cross Shared West 11th St. Property Line?  

Ribao Xiao and Nina Cheung are owners of neighboring real estate in Brooklyn. The two houses are positioned in such a manner that there is a driveway running vertically and parallel to their properties from the street into the backyard.

Xiao, proceeding pro se, filed a verified complaint  against Cheung with  fifteen allegations of fact in support of two causes of action. The first cause of action was for a permanent injunction. The second cause of action was for a declaratory judgment.

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Siblings In-Law Litigate Woodside Driveway Easement

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Court Asked to Find Easement by Implication/Necessity

Residential Lot A in Woodside, New York, owned by John Bonadio, is situated perpendicular to residential Lot B, owned by Elizabeth Bonadio. The two lots share a border. Lot A has a detached two-car garage, the entrance to which faces a driveway situated on Lot B. John’s father (Richard) acquired title to both lots in 1953, and used the driveway on Lot B to access the garage on Lot A.

In 1962, Richard conveyed title to Lot B to himself and his wife, Jane (Elizabeth’s mother). Also, in 1985, Richard similarly conveyed title to Lot A to himself and Jane. After Richard passed away in 1997, Jane became the sole owner of both lots. In 2007, Jane conveyed Lot B to Elizabeth (John’s sister-in-law). In 2008, Jane conveyed Lot A to John, retaining a life estate for herself. Jane died in 2016.

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Good [Gates] Make Good Neighbors: But Not on Rodgers Lane in Saratoga

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

According to Robert Frost: “Good fences make good neighbors.” (Mending Wall, 1914) But, as a recent case illustrates, a roadway crossing gate may result in an acrimonious legal dispute between contiguous property owners.

Monica and Harold Hulett and Terri Korb own neighboring parcels of land in the Town of Saratoga. Since 1986, the Huletts had accessed their property through the use of a roadway, known as Rodgers Lane, that crossed over a number of their neighbors’ parcels, including a roughly 250-foot-long portion of Korb’s parcel.

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All is Not Peaceful on Willow Lane on Shelter Island: Neighbors Litigate Scope of 1959 Right of Way

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Shelter Island (2010 pop. 2,392), a Town on the East End of Long Island, separated from the rest of Suffolk County by a body of water– and accessible only by ferry from Greenport (to the north) and North Haven (to the south)– is known for its bed and breakfast and boutique hotel charm and culture. But, as a recent case illustrates, the full-time residents can be as litigious as the mainlanders who visit the island.

Sharon and Brenda Grosbard and Abbey on Willow Lane, LLC own adjoining properties that were once part of a larger common parcel in Shelter Island. Abbey’s property borders the Grosbard’s property on the north and also borders a portion of it on the west. The Grosbard’s property is burdened by an express easement that benefits Abbey’s property. The easement was granted as part of a 1959 property subdivision dividing the contiguous properties. The undivided property had benefitted from an easement to the south (the so-called Willow Lane connector easement), which extended over two other properties to connect to another easement over a private road known as Willow Lane, which ultimately connected to a public roadway.

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Raging Roadway Rumble at Big Moose Lake in Hamilton County

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Did Scholets Improperly Block Sardinos Sole Means of Access?

Lake-adjacent upstate properties bring to mind the pastoral, peaceful, and sublime. But, as a recent case illustrates, rural neighbors can be as contentious and litigious about their rights to access their properties as their downstate counterparts can be with respect to mid-town high-rise roof access rights.

The families of Kathleen Sardino and Arthur Scholet own adjacent parcels of property along the south shore of Big Moose Lake in the Town of Long Lake, Hamilton County. The Sardinos owned or occupied their respective properties (the Sardino Property and the Williamson Property) since the 1950s. They access their properties over a roadway referred to as the East Bay Extension, which extends in sequence from Judson Road across the property of Arthur Scholet and Diane Scholet, the property of Cosanne Schneberger and Scott Schneberger, the Williamson Property, and ending at the Sardino Property.

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Law school real property textbooks abound with cases addressing adverse possession, right-of-way disputes and various types of easements (prescriptive, of necessity, and otherwise).  Contemporary decisions still address those usual generic, threshold issues, but also the more granule issues of the location, size and permitted uses of easements, rights of way.  Several recent examples follow.

DiDonato v. Dyckman, 2018 NY Slip Op 08113, App. Div. 2nd Dept. (November 28, 2018) Continue reading