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Dietrich Int'l Truck Sales, Inc. v. J.S. & J. Servs., Inc.

California Court of Appeal
5 Cal. Rptr. 2d 288 (Ct. App.), review denied (1992)


Facts

Dietrich International Truck Sales, Inc. (Dietrich) (plaintiff) is a truck sales and repair business located next to Terminal Station, a truck stop. Terminal holds a 49-year lease on its premises that runs until 2005. Its landlord is named Brown (defendant). Since Dietrich began operations in 1967, it has needed to drive large trucks over part of the Terminal property in order to get them to its service bays. Dietrich therefore claims an easement for access over that part of the property. In 1988, environmental regulations required Terminal to install new storage tanks. Terminal’s environmental engineers recommended installing tanks in a way that would require putting up a barrier in the easement claimed by Dietrich. Dietrich brought an action to quiet title to its easement for access. The trial court held that Dietrich had a prescriptive easement against both Terminal and against Brown. Both Terminal and Brown appealed. Brown argued that because he was not in possession of the property until 2005, he was not legally able to prevent Dietrich from occupying the property and thus that no prescriptive easement could be obtained against him.

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning

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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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