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Cascade v. Georgia-Pacific

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 11-14-2013
Case #: A148782
Schauman, P.J. for the Court; Wollheim, J.; and Duncan, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A148782.pdf

Property Law: The interpretation of an express easement is a question of law to be decided by the courts. In construing an easement, a court's task is to discern the nature and scope of the easement's purpose and to give effect to that purpose in a practical manner.

Georgia-Pacific appealed a judgment which denied them easement and service rights. Cascade and Georgia-Pacific own adjoining mills, which share a common infrastructure. In the 1990’s, disputes arose after the mills came under separate ownership. The dispute was resolved with a settlement and operating agreement, and an easement agreement, which was later amended. The current dispute arose out of the interpretation and effect of the easements and service rights. Georgia-Pacific argued that the settlement gave them an easement to Cascade’s process water and effluent lines. Cascade argued that the easement unambiguously denied Georgia-Pacific easement and service rights. The trial court agreed with Cascade and found that Georgia-Pacific did not have an easement in the process water and effluent lines. Georgia-Pacific appealed this decision. Upon review of the amended easement agreement, the Court held that the trial court correctly determined the easement agreement put express limitations on Georgia-Pacific’s easement rights. Affirmed