Burnham v. Kwentus

174 So. 3d 286 (2015)

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Burnham v. Kwentus

Mississippi Court of Appeals
174 So. 3d 286 (2015)

LJ

Facts

In 1937 Capitol National Bank owned certain land located in Mississippi. Specifically, the bank owned an undivided interest in property that through a series of transactions came under the ownership of Joseph Kwentus and Karen Richardson (the neighbors) (defendants). The bank also owned a one-third interest in the adjacent property. The bank’s one-third interest in the adjacent property was sold to Robert Young. The sale to Young resulted in Young’s property becoming landlocked because there was no longer common ownership and the only access point was on the neighbors’ property. Young’s successor in interest acquired full ownership of the property. The Young property was ultimately sold to Chester Burnham (plaintiff). For more than 50 years, Burnham accessed his property by Ridge Road, a private road that ran through the neighboring property. The prior owners testified that they allowed Burnham unrestricted access to Ridge Road without question and as a neighborly courtesy. However, when the property was sold to the neighbors in 2008, they instructed Burnham to cease using Ridge Road and prohibited access to their property. Burnham filed suit against the neighbors, alleging that he had a prescriptive easement along Ridge Road and through the neighbors’ property. The chancellor held in favor of the neighbors and denied Burnham’s prescriptive-easement claim. However, the chancellor found that Burnham had an easement by necessity. Burnham filed an appeal, and the neighbors filed a cross-appeal.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Maxwell, J.)

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