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Commonwealth Electric Co. v. MacCardell

Massachusetts Supreme Court
876 N.E.2d 405 (2007)


Thomas Murray owned two parcels of land in Duxbury, Massachusetts. In 1936, Murray granted an easement to Plymouth County Electric Company (PCEC) for the installation of transmission lines. The easement deed did not specify which parcel the easement applied to. In 1944, the administrator of the Murray estate asked the Land Court to register and confirm titles to the two parcels. The certificates of title issued by the Land Court showed the transmission-line easement on Lot Two. The Land Court’s decree of registration also stated that the easement applied to Lot Two. However, PCEC had installed the utility poles on Lot One. Leslie MacCardell (defendant) bought Lot One and lived there. Commonwealth Electric Co. (CEC) (plaintiff) became the successor to PCEC. When Lot Two’s owners requested a service increase, CEC discovered that there was no easement recorded on Lot One. CEC then petitioned the Land Court to amend Lot One’s certificate of title to reflect the easement. CEC argued that MacCardell had actual notice of the easement because the utility poles were on Lot One. The trial court ruled for MacCardell. CEC appealed, but the appellate court affirmed the ruling for MacCardell. CEC then petitioned the Massachusetts Supreme Court for review.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Ireland, J.)

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