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Law School Case Brief

Granite Props. Ltd. P'ship v. Manns - 117 Ill. 2d 425, 111 Ill. Dec. 593, 512 N.E.2d 1230 (1987)


There are two types of implied easements -- the easement by necessity and the easement implied from a preexisting use. The easement by necessity usually arises when an owner of land conveys to another an inner portion thereof, which is entirely surrounded by lands owned either by the grantor or the grantor plus strangers. Unless a contrary intent is manifested, the grantee is found to have a right-of-way across the retained land of the grantor for ingress to, and egress from, the landlocked parcel. Similarly, an easement is implied by way of necessity in the deed when the owner of lands retains the inner portion, conveying to another the balance.


Plaintiff Granite Properties Limited Partnership, being the dominant estate owner, brought a suit in the circuit court of Madison County, Illinois, seeking to permanently enjoin the defendant servient estate owners, Larry and Ann Manns, from interfering with the plaintiff's use and enjoyment of two claimed easements over driveways which exist on the defendants' property. One driveway provided ingress to and egress from an apartment complex and the other to a shopping center. Both the apartment complex and the shopping center were situated on the plaintiff's property. Following a bench trial, the circuit court entered judgment against the plaintiff and in favor of the defendants as to both claimed easements. Following argument of the plaintiff's post-trial motion, the circuit court granted permanent injunctive relief as to the claimed apartment complex easement, but reaffirmed its decision denying the claimed shopping center easement. Both parties appealed from that portion of the judgment adverse to them. The appellate court held that the plaintiff was entitled to easements by implication over the driveways.


Where the parties owned adjacent parcels of land, was the plaintiff, as the dominant estate owner, entitled to easement by implications over the driveways as against defendant servient estate owners?





The Supreme Court of Illinois affirmed the judgment and awarded the dominant estate owner a permanent injunction against the servient estate owners for interference with the dominant estate owner's use and enjoyment of two easements over the servient estate owners' property. The Court held that the plaintiff, as the dominant estate owner, was entitled to an easement by implication. In its examination of the case, the Court found that the driveways in question had been used by the plaintiff or its predecessors in title since the respective properties were developed. Moreover, the driveways were permanent in character, being either rock or gravel covered, and the defendants were aware of the driveways' prior uses before they purchased the parcel.

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