Some fundamental principles applicable to a request for an injunction must be considered. (1) The proceeding is equitable and addressed to the sound discretion of the trial court. (2) The trial court is vested with a broad discretionary power to shape and fashion injunctive relief to fit the particular facts, circumstances, and equities of the case before it. Appellate courts give great weight to the trial court's exercise of that discretion. (3) One of the essential criteria for injunctive relief is actual and substantial injury sustained by the person seeking the injunction.
Plaintiffs landowners sued for removal of obstructions, an injunction against defendant's interference with their use of an easement and damages. Defendants counterclaimed for damages and an injunction prohibiting the use of the easement. The trial court held that defendants' request for injunctive relief was appropriate to prevent plaintiffs' misuse of an easement, and enjoined plaintiffs from using the easement to benefit any land other than the dominant estate. On appeal, the trial court was reversed.
Is the plaintiff allowed to use private road easement to cross the servient estate to access the dominant estate and another estate which was not acquired later in such a way that the burden on the servient estate did not increase?
The supreme court determined that plaintiffs' extension of the use of the easement for the benefit of the non-dominant property did constitute a misuse of the easement even though there was no evidence of an increase in the burden on the servient estate. The court concluded, however, that it did not follow that defendants were entitled to injunctive relief. The court held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying defendants' request for injunctive relief.