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Estate of Thomson v. Wade

New York Court of Appeals
509 N.E.2d 309 (N.Y. 1987)


In 1945, Edward John Nobel conveyed two parcels of land to third parties. One parcel, called the annex parcel, lies on the St. Lawrence river. The other parcel lies between the annex parcel and the public road. When Nobel conveyed the annex parcel, he did not convey an express easement appurtenant to the annex property over the other parcel. However, when Nobel conveyed the other parcel, he reserved for himself and for the owner of the annex parcel a right-of-way across the other parcel. Nobel’s interest in the right-of-way passed to an entity called the Nobel Foundation. The right-of-way was thereafter used by the annex parcel’s owner and members of the public to access the waterfront. The annex parcel eventually passed to A. Graham Thomson (plaintiff), and the other parcel passed to Judith Wade (defendant). Thomson built a 50-room motel on the annex parcel, which greatly increased traffic across the right-of-way. Wade sought to bar the use of the right-of-way across her parcel, and Thomson acquired from the Nobel Foundation its interest in the right-of-way. Thomson then sought a declaratory judgment that he had an express easement over Wade’s parcel. He argued that, in the deed for Wade’s parcel, Nobel had reserved easements for the annex parcel’s owner and for himself, both of which Thomson had acquired. The lower court held that there was no express easement, and Thomson appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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