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Christensen v. City of Pocatello

Supreme Court of Idaho
124 P.3d 1008 (2005)


Facts

Harper Road was a public road that ran through property owned by the Christensens (plaintiffs.) Harper Road had never been opened or used. Harper Road ended near the west end of a property owned by the Fairchilds. A roadway and utility easement encumbered the western portion of the Fairchilds’ property nearest to Harper Road. The easement was created to provide access to a piece of land, known as Sewer Lagoon, located to the north of the Fairchilds’ property. Sewer Lagoon was owned by Western National Corporation at the time the easement was created. Ownership of Sewer Lagoon, along with the easement, was later transferred to the City of Pocatello (defendant). The city had not used the easement for many years. The city announced its intent to expand its bike path and greenway onto Harper Road and the easement, thus connecting Harper Road, the easement, and Sewer Lagoon with the rest of the bike path. The Christensens and the Fairchilds objected to this plan and sued, seeking an injunction preventing the city from using the road and easement as intended. The Christensens alleged that the city’s proposed use was not consistent with the uses permitted on a public road. The Fairchilds alleged that the easement was a private easement and that the public’s use of it would unlawfully increase the burden on their servient property. The lower court ruled in favor of the city, allowing the city to proceed with its plans. The Christensens appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Jones, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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