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Nelson v. Johnson

Idaho Supreme Court 
679 P.2d 662 (1984)


Robert and Marjorie Wake sold a portion of their land to Jess and Maud Hess but reserved for themselves a right of way and the right to use water from a spring on the property. The easements were “for the watering of livestock owned by the sellers . . . .” Prior to this division, part of the land was used as a dry farm and the other as a cattle ranch. The Wakes sold the dry farm and kept the ranch. The Hesses then sold the farm to the Johnsons (defendants). Years later, the Wakes sold the cattle ranch to the Nelsons (plaintiffs) along with their “right for stock water” from the spring in the dry farm. Whereas the Wakes used the easements as a matter of right, the Johnsons purported to grant the Nelsons “permission” to use the road and the spring. The Johnsons later purported to revoke that permission and soon denied the Nelsons access to the road and spring. The Nelsons sued to enforce their easement rights. The district court held that the Nelsons had an appurtenant easement in the road and spring, the farm being the servient estate and the ranch being the dominant estate. The Johnsons appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Huntley, J.)

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