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Miller v. Jones

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 04-24-2013
Case #: A147325
Sercombe, J., for the court; Ortega, P.J.; and Hadlock, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A147325.pdf

Property Law: An easement will be found when the agreement between the parties shows the intent to do so. An easement will be appurtenant so long as there is no contrary intent and the dominant estate is identified.

Jones appealed the trial court's ruling granting an appurtenant easement giving her adjacent neighbors the right to use and maintain an irrigation pipeline.  Jones argues that the agreement only created a personal license between the previous owners of the lots and, even if an easement was created, it was not appurtenant. The Court analyzed the “Irrigation Pipeline and Access Agreement” (IPA Agreement) entered in to by the pervious lot owners and looked to “the meaning that was most likely intended by the parties who entered into it.” The word “easement” is used twice in the IPA Agreement, along with other additional provisions lending support to the intent of the parties to create an easement.  The provisions, wording, and the document as a whole show an unambiguous intent of the parties to create an easement.  The Court then ruled that while there was no specific language making the easement appurtenant, the initial parties intended for it to be so, the dominant estate is identified, and there is no language demonstrating contrary intent. These facts, along with a “strong preference” in law to find easements appurtenant, support the finding that the easement is appurtenant. Affirmed.