Law School Case Brief
Finn v. Williams - 376 Ill. 95, 33 N.E.2d 226 (1941)
Where an owner of land conveys a parcel thereof which has no outlet to a highway except over the remaining lands of the grantor or over the land of strangers, a way by necessity exists over the remaining lands of the grantor. If, at one time, there has been unity of title, the right to a way by necessity may lay dormant through several transfers of title and yet pass with each transfer as appurtenant to the dominant estate and be exercised at any time by the holder of the title thereto.
Plaintiffs claimed that nearest and only available means of access from their land to the highway and to market for livestock and crops was by means of right-of-way over defendant's tract immediately to north. Plaintiffs sought declaration of right-of-way easement of necessity. Lower court rendered decree, adjudicating plaintiffs to be owners of right-of-way easement of necessity over defendant's one hundred acres. The case was appealed to the Supreme Court of Illinois.
Were plaintiffs entitled to a right of way?
The court stated that where an owner of land conveyed a parcel thereof which had no outlet to a highway except over the remaining lands of the grantor or over land of strangers, a way of necessity existed over remaining lands of the grantor. As plaintiffs' land was entirely surrounded by property of strangers and land of defendant from which it was originally severed, a right-of-way easement of necessity was necessarily implied in the conveyance severing the two tracts and passed by mesne conveyances to plaintiffs.
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