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Estojak v. Mazsa

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
562 A.2d 271


Facts

Andrew and Michael Estojak (plaintiffs) own a business located in the Minsi Trail Farm Plan (Plan). In July 1985, the Estojaks purchased two additional lots in the Plan located at the intersection of Yeates Street and East Union Street. Yeates and East Union were dedicated for public use on the recorded plan. However, the municipality never accepted these two streets for public use, and they were never opened to the public. The Estojaks bulldozed a roadway over East Union Street to gain access to their new lots. The Mazsas and the Johnsons (defendants) own homes on either side of East Union Street. The defendants both bought their properties in the 1950s. Both defendants have used the land that was supposed to be East Union Street as an extension of their respective yards, even building a driveway and planting trees on part of the street. During most of their property ownership, the defendants did not restrict access across the East Union Street land. However, after the Estojaks’ bulldozed the roadway, the defendants erected a fence to prevent the Estojaks from using the street as a roadway. The Estojaks sued, arguing the Plan created an easement that gave them access across East Union Street. The parties stipulated that the ownership of East Union Street had reverted back to the defendants, as adjoining property owners. However, the parties disagreed whether the defendants’ use of East Union Street as a yard was adverse possession sufficient to also end any easement. The defendants also testified that a natural embankment prevented vehicular access across East Union Street. The trial court found for the defendants. The Superior Court found that the trial court had applied the wrong test, but still found that the easement had been extinguished by adverse possession under the correct test. The Estojaks appealed.

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Larsen, J.)

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Concurrence (Nix, C.J.)

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