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Frenning v. Dow

Rhode Island Supreme Court
544 A.2d 145 (1988)


Facts

Gray once owned the property now owned by Clarence Dow (defendant). Shaw once owned the property now owned by Blanche Frenning (plaintiff). Gray granted Shaw an easement to cross what is now Dow’s property. At the time the easement was granted, Shaw’s property consisted of 102 acres. Since that time, Shaw and Frenning acquired an additional 150 acres of contiguous property. Frenning’s total holdings now consist of 257 acres, and Frenning uses the easement across Dow’s property to service all 257 acres of property. Frenning sued Dow. The trial court found that the use of the easement to service Frenning’s additional 150 acres constituted a material increase in use and, therefore, was not allowed by the original easement agreement. The trial court held that there was no way to sever this unlawful increased burden and still preserve the original easement because there was no practical way to monitor Frenning’s use of the easement. Accordingly, the trial court concluded that the easement had been extinguished or terminated. Frenning appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Weisberger, 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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