Easement Properly Modified to Coincide with New Roadway.

Plaintiff and defendant were neighbors who purchased their property from a common owner. The plat recorded by the original owner showed a 30-foot wide easement benefiting what became plaintiff’s property and burdening what became defendant’s property. An eight-foot-wide unpaved road sat within the easement. When the owner sold the property to defendant, he attached a Road Relocation Agreement (Agreement) to the recorded deed. The Agreement contemplated the construction of a new road, part of which would be located outside of the original easement. The Agreement stated that the “relocated easement shall equal to the ‘as built’ dimensions and location of the road to be constructed.” A new 10-12 foot wide paved road was constructed, and the owner sold the second lot to plaintiff. The deed contained language nearly identical to the terms of the Agreement regarding a relocated easement. When a dispute regarding the easement arose, plaintiff filed an action against defendant, seeking to quiet title to a 30-foot easement, alleging interference with his right to an easement, and asserting trespass and nuisance claims. The trial court determined that the Agreement modified the express easement, making the easement’s dimensions coextensive with those of the paved road. On appeal, the court affirmed, ruling that the unambiguous terms of the Agreement dictated a finding that the Agreement relocated the entire easement. The court also found that the trial court did not err in finding that defendant did not create a nuisance or act intentionally in damaging plaintiff’s video camera. Plattner v. Bonnett, No. 43938-7-II, 2014 Wash. App. LEXIS 883 (Ct. App. Wash. Apr. 15, 2014).    

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