Nickels v. Casburg

2009 Tex. App. LEXIS 4555 (2009)

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Nickels v. Casburg

Texas Court of Appeals
2009 Tex. App. LEXIS 4555 (2009)

Facts

P&W Co. (PWC) created a subdivision on land that it owned. PWC prepared but did not record a subdivision plat showing the subdivision’s configurations, including a portion of land labeled as a lakeside tract and identified as an easement for use by subdivision owners. PWC did not preserve the original plat but recorded the easement in the county recorder. PWC informed prospective purchasers of subdivision tracts of the easement area as an inducement and provided purchasers with copies of the subdivision plat. Property owners in the subdivision used the lakeside tract to access the lake and used a portion of land adjacent to the lakeside tract (the adjacent area), together with a boat ramp in the lakeside tract, as a turnaround area for boats. Craig and Sheila Nickels (plaintiffs) purchased two plots in the subdivision, one of which encompassed the lakeside tract and the adjacent area. The deeds and title to the plots referred to the county recorder volume with PWC’s record of the easement and to the unrecorded subdivision plat. Further, the Nickelses’ contract for one plot they purchased contained a drawing identifying the lakeside tract as an easement area with a ramp. Following their purchase, the Nickelses disputed the rights of other owners to use the lakeside tract to access the lake and sued the other subdivision property owners (the property owners) (defendants), seeking a declaratory judgment settling the respective rights of the parties over the lakeside tract. The property owners counterclaimed for a judgment affirming their right to use the lakeside tract on the grounds of express easement, easement by estoppel, and easement by prescription. The court ruled that the property owners had an easement in the lakeside tract and in the adjacent area. The Nickelses appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Patterson, J.)

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