Ward v. Slavecek Case Brief

Summary of Ward v. Slavecek, Ct of App. TX [1971]

Relevant Facts: Pl and Df own adjacent lots each fronting a street. The title to both lots is derived from a common predecessor who built a driveway centered on the east-west boundary. Df’s predecessor constructed a garage on his lot and began to use the original driveway in common with his neighbor and with his consent. This use continued for nearly 42 years until Df built a metal fence on their property which divided the driveway so that Pl could no use it.

Legal Issue(s): Whether the plaintiff has an implied E by necessity to access the driveway?

Court’s Holding: No

Procedure: Bench Trial judgment for Df; Affirmed.

Law or Rule(s): The requirements for engrafting an easement by implication is that the E must be necessary to the use of the dominant estate, the degree of necessity being strict necessity.

Court Rationale: The trial court found that an open alley on the west end of the property was accessible to the Pl. The alley could be used for access to the pl’s garage. There is a 9-9.5 ft space along side the metal fence and pl’s house, providing sufficient clearance for an automobile to be driven from the street to the garage. Under the express and implied findings as to necessity the Pl has not established an implied E as a matter of law.

Plaintiff’s Argument: There is no E, either express or implied by necessity, created for the Df’s right to access, where the Df has alternative means to gain access to her garage.

Defendant’s Argument: The E is necessary for the reasonable use and enjoyment of the Df’s land in order to access her garage.

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