Kennedy v. Bedenbaugh

352 S.C. 56, 572 S.E.2d 452 (2002)

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Kennedy v. Bedenbaugh

South Carolina Supreme Court
352 S.C. 56, 572 S.E.2d 452 (2002)

RW

Facts

Dan and Christine Kennedy (plaintiffs) acquired a tract of land that adjoined a tract owned by George Bedenbaugh (defendant). The Kennedy tract did not connect directly to any roads in the area, so the Kennedys sued Bedenbaugh to establish an easement by necessity over Bedenbaugh’s tract. A century earlier, Jacob Lindler had owned both tracts, which at that time formed a single property. When Lindler subdivided his property, he conveyed what became the Kennedy tract to S. B. Holley. The deed mentioned an easement connecting the tract to a nearby road. A few years later, Lindler conveyed what became the Bedenbaugh tract to Holley and his wife, C. D. Holley, who held the tract as tenants in common until Mrs. Holley died. Mrs. Holley left only a life estate to Mr. Holley, with remainder interests passing to the couple’s children. Thereafter, and until Bedenbaugh and the Kennedys acquired their titles decades later, the two tracts went through a complex succession of owners, none of whom owned both tracts at the same time. The trial court granted summary judgment for Bedenbaugh, ruling that the Kennedys could not prove the requisite unity of title. The Kennedys appealed to the South Carolina Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Moore, J.)

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