Parties Obtained Prescriptive Easement Over Private Road and Were Entitled to $40,000 in Nuisance Damages Because of Neighbors’ Locked Gate.

In this case, the respondents filed an action against the petitioners, seeking a declaration that they had a prescriptive easement to use a road crossing  the petitioners’ property. They also sought nuisance damages and the removal of a gate the petitioners had erected across the road. The action arose because the respondents had built a cabin on their property and used it for recreational purposes for more than 20 years. They had always accessed the property via the road in question, until the petitioners erected a locked gate across the road, blocking access. After a trial, the jury found that the respondents had acquired a prescriptive easement on the private road and that they were entitled to $40,000 in nuisance damages. The trial court ordered the petitioners to remove the gate. On appeal, the court affirmed, finding that the two year statute of limitations did not bar the action (even though the gate had been erected more than two years before the action was filed) because the gate was a continuing nuisance. The court also found that the circuit court did not err in finding sufficient evidence to establish a prescriptive easement. Myers v. Root, No. 13-0757, 2014 W. Va. LEXIS 475 (W. Va. Apr. 25, 2014).