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Goulding v. Cook

Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
661 N.E.2d 1322 (Mass. 1996)


The Cooks (defendants) used a cesspool to dispose of home waste. The cesspool malfunctioned due to a neighbor’s installation of a swimming pool, and the local government required the Cooks to install a septic system. The only suitable site was a 2,998-square foot triangle of land. The Cooks claimed that they owned the land, but their neighbors the Gouldings (plaintiffs) insisted that they were the owners and refused permission to install a septic system. The Gouldings sought a preliminary injunction against the installation, which was denied. The Cooks installed a septic system on the land. Later, the trial court determined that the Gouldings owned the land, but granted the Cooks an easement to continue to operate the septic system, with payments to be made to the Gouldings. The intermediate appellate court affirmed, and the Gouldings appealed to the state supreme court.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Fried, J.)

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