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  1. #1
    frustratdfarmer is offline Junior Member
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    Neighbor blocking easement to my land

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Ohio


    We've had a long ongoing battle with a neighbor and it's about to come to a head. We live back a long lane, 3 families total, our portion is 82 acres and we own the lane, second family 14 acres on our north border, the problem is the third property owner who is fully surrounded by the other two properties and is an acre of land.

    We've had a problem with them trespassing and encroaching on our land (we surveyed, they were 30 feet over the line, complete with swingsets and sheds). Fenced them in, they ran into and damaged the fence within a week). I got mad and pulled her pipe draining her pond onto my property (one of those spur of the moment rage fits). She called the sheriff and started hollering about easements, SO I researched the easements.

    She has NO rights to drain any water except from the front of her driveway, buried properly and out to a canal on our land, she's not doing this. But, she's draining her sump/well overflow onto my land and making it impossible for me to access 10 acres of my farmland, losing crops.

    In researching the easements I also learned we have a farm lane that goes THROUGH her yard, to the back fields, and at this time this would be the only way to reach our fields.

    I've spent over $500 already in legal research and letters from our lawyer to no avail, in fact they go out of their way to block the farm lane with vehicles.

    Last Saturday I called the sheriff, since it's not an emergency he can't make them move them, his advice was to either:

    1) just file in civil court, he thought we wouldn't need a lawyer and would only have to pay a $40.00 filing fee, then when the judge ruled the sheriff could make them move.

    or

    2) Just tow the vehicles out of the way and go through.

    BTW, the neighbors are gone on the weekends, so if we DID tow, it would be while their gone.

    We THOUGHT we'd do the "civil" thing, and left them a letter on Tues of this week, stating if they did NOT clear the lane by Thurs. morning we would be filing in civil court.

    Of course, the didn't move the vehicles, and put MORE directly in the way.

    So, called the courts this morning only to be told that I personally can't file, I need an attorney to do this. I'm beyond frustrated now, I can't get to the hay to harvest, do NOT have money to pursue this in the courts, and can't get to my OWN LAND!!

    Any other options? And if I cap the pipe from her well/septic can I be held liable for the damages to her home? If I park a tractor across the drive so they can't get in what will the consequences be? (after all, it's not an emergency, they could walk around it).

    This is NOT a fun situation, the only thing keeping me sane is that I know it's driving her CRAZIER than it is us.

    FF
  2. #2
    silverado1 is offline Junior Member
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    Whatever you do, be careful!

    My wife and I just watched Dateline on Monday "Love thy Neighbor". It is basically the same scenario you have. They were fighting for years about an easement and the end was not pretty. One of the neighbors shot and killed both the husband and wife that he was feuding with. There is actually a clip of the episode on the NBC website.

    I can imagine how frustrating it is but some people are just crazy and I think sometimes we forget that. I would suggest that you definitely watch that show, they always repeat it.

    I am sorry for all your frustration. I hope you find someone on here that will be able to point you in the right direction. Good Luck!
  3. #3
    Silverplum is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by silverado1 View Post
    II hope you find someone on here that will be able to point you in the right direction.
    We're working on it.
  4. #4
    Ohiogal is offline Senior Member
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    Per 2009-Ohio-2202
    1st NATIONAL BANK v. MOUNTAIN AGENCY, L.L.C.
    An easement is defined as "a right, without profit, created by grant or prescription, which the owner of one estate, called the dominant estate, may exercise in or over the estate of another, called the servient estate, for the benefit of the former." Proffitt v. Plymesser (June 25, 2001), Brown App. No. CA2000-04-008, at 2-3, quoting Trattar v. Rausch (1950), 154 Ohio St. 286, paragraph one of the syllabus. An easement may be acquired by express grant, by implication, or by prescription. Trattar at paragraph two of the syllabus. The owner of the servient estate may use his property in any manner that is not inconsistent with the limited use allocated to the owner of the dominant estate. Paulson v. Vanlandingham (Feb. 12, 1996), Clermont App. No. CA95-07-045, at 4.
    You have the dominant estate and your neighbor has the servient estate. Blocking the easement with vehicles is inconsistent with the limited use allocated. The court found:
    The fact that some space remained for bank customers to perform a u-turn was irrelevant, as Wyler's actions effectively decreased the size of the easement as it was delineated in the granting instrument. Cf. Goldberger v. Bexley Properties (1983), 5 Ohio St.3d 82, 85.
    and
    Rather, the court held that 1st National was entitled to full use of the entire easement and that Wyler could not interfere with 1st National's full use of the easement by using the area as a parking lot. This holding accords with the long-established rule that the owner of a servient estate may use his or her property for any purpose that does not interfere with the easement. See Paulson, Clermont App. No. CA95-07-045 at 4.

    {22} The trial court held that "Wyler's use of the easement area as a parking lot essentially abrogates [1st National's] ability to use the easement for roadway purposes * * *." (Emphasis added.) The trial court found that Wyler was permitted to park its cars next to the easement area, but may not interfere with the 271 foot by 60 foot easement granted to 1st National. Holding that Wyler may not interfere with 1st National's use of the easement for roadway purposes is not the same thing as imposing the restriction that the easement be used "for roadway purposes only" upon Wyler.

    {23} We conclude that the trial court's determination that Wyler was interfering with 1st National's use of the easement was supported by competent, credible evidence and therefore was not against the manifest weight of the evidence. Seasons Coal at 80.
    Go to court and ask for a permanent injunction prohibiting them from parking and ask the court to allow you to tow ANY VEHICLES that are parked along the the easement at the cost of the subservient estate as well as remove anything else that may inhibit your use of the easement.
    Read the ENTIRE case of which I cited portions.
    Parents should remember 3 things: Love your kids more than you hate your ex; when you have children the relationship with the other parent is until death; your children determine what type of nursing home you end up in.
    Nothing stated by me should be taken as giving you legal advice or forming an attorney/client relationship.

    Attorney-GAL in Ohio.

    I've removed the knife from my back, polished it, and will one day return it -- long after you think I have forgotten.
  5. #5
    frustratdfarmer is offline Junior Member
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    Thank you for the advice, I will read the case when I get back in from chores.

    And yes, we're being very careful how we handle this, it has been VERY ugly, I've had horses turned loose, fences damaged, her ex AND current husband have threatened my husband, and more, several things have been documented (the sheriff knows us all by first name).. And just recently my three week old colt ended up with chemical burns on his neck, but we couldn't prove anything so didn't file a case on that with the sheriff. We didn't want to suspect them, but it was just to obvious, but no evidence.

    We've gone out of our way to be above the law in this, and we're currently the ones suffering in the situation.

    Again, thank you and will read the rest in about an hour (hungry cows and horses).

    ff
  6. #6
    Ohiogal is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by frustratdfarmer View Post
    Thank you for the advice, I will read the case when I get back in from chores.

    And yes, we're being very careful how we handle this, it has been VERY ugly, I've had horses turned loose, fences damaged, her ex AND current husband have threatened my husband, and more, several things have been documented (the sheriff knows us all by first name).. And just recently my three week old colt ended up with chemical burns on his neck, but we couldn't prove anything so didn't file a case on that with the sheriff. We didn't want to suspect them, but it was just to obvious, but no evidence.

    We've gone out of our way to be above the law in this, and we're currently the ones suffering in the situation.

    Again, thank you and will read the rest in about an hour (hungry cows and horses).

    ff
    File a police report on EVERY incident from a colt getting chemical burns to every incident in which they block your easement. If they have threatened you with bodily harm get a restraining order.
    Parents should remember 3 things: Love your kids more than you hate your ex; when you have children the relationship with the other parent is until death; your children determine what type of nursing home you end up in.
    Nothing stated by me should be taken as giving you legal advice or forming an attorney/client relationship.

    Attorney-GAL in Ohio.

    I've removed the knife from my back, polished it, and will one day return it -- long after you think I have forgotten.
  7. #7
    drewguy is offline Member
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    I am quite surprised you were told you have to have a lawyer. I don't believe that's true in any state--it may be advisable though.

    It sounds to me like you need a way to afford a lawyer. What you don't want to do is handle the case yourself and then lose your easement or your rights. That's the risk you take if they hire a good lawyer in response.

    Since you say you have crops, if they prevent you from accessing them, that causes actual damage to you that you could establish. That means you can sue them not only to enforce your rights (move the pipe, move the cars), but also to collect money. The benefit there is that you have money to pay a lawyer with, so you may be able to find one to take your case on contingency.

    If the deeds are as clear as you say, and the violations as well, it may be a quick case and not cost a huge amount.

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