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Birchwood Land Co., Inc. v. Krizan

Vermont Supreme Court
115 A.3d 1009 (2015)


Facts

In 1982, Judith Krizan (defendant) bought a vacant, undeveloped lot completely cut off from any roads. That meant by law she also acquired an implied access easement across neighboring property. Krizan left her property undeveloped for 30 years. In 2002, Birchwood Land Company, Incorporated (plaintiff) bought property on three sides of Krizan’s, including the strip her access easement crossed. Birchwood developed its property, adding utilities and a road that extended to Krizan’s land. When Birchwood was finished, Krizan notified the town that she intended to develop her lot. Because of the road and infrastructure, the town found Krizan’s lot developable and upped its taxable value by about $80,000. Birchwood sued Krizan on a theory of unjust enrichment to recover her share of the road and infrastructure costs, estimated at about $50,000. Birchwood argued Krizan received substantial benefits and co-owned the easement where Birchwood constructed the road. The trial court dismissed on the ground that Birchwood could not recover for unjust enrichment. Birchwood appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Dooley, J.)

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