Agreement To Maintain Dam Runs With the Land and Binds Subsequent Owners.

The plaintiffs sued the defendant, a railroad, to enforce a 1901 agreement between their predecessors-in-interest and the railroad's predecessor.  Under the agreement, the railroad's predecessor-in-interest agreed to construct and maintain a dam on its right-of-way which ran adjacent to the plaintiffs' predecessor-in-interest's land.  The ponded water was to have a water depth between 14 and 20 feet.  In 2005, the plaintiffs bought property to the east of and adjacent to the right-of way.  The defendant acquired the railroad right-of-way in 2006.  The plaintiffs told the defendant that the dam was leaking  and damaging their property and needed to be fixed and maintained with at least 14 feet of water.  The defendant argued that the 1901 agreement didn't run with the land, and that if it did, it didn't require the defendant to require the pond to be maintained at a specific depth.  The defendant also maintained that any breach that occurred happened before the plaintiffs acquired their property.  The trial court granted summary judgment to the railroad, but the appellate court reversed.  The court determined that the 1901 parties to the agreement intended it to run with the land based on the language used and that it created obligations on the successor parties.  Williams v. The Indiana Railroad Company, No. 77A04-1311-CC-580, 2015 Ind. App. LEXIS 258 (Ind. Ct. App. Mar. 31, 2015).

 

 

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