Thompson v. E.I.G. Palace Mall, LLC

657 N.W.2d 300 (2003)

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Thompson v. E.I.G. Palace Mall, LLC

South Dakota Supreme Court
657 N.W.2d 300 (2003)

Facts

Mary Eilen Thompson and others (plaintiffs) owned a restaurant next to a parking lot owned by E.I.G. Palace Mall, LLC (E.I.G.) (defendant). The restaurant and parking lot had previously been owned by the same person. The parking lot was open to the public and was used regularly by restaurant patrons and restaurant delivery trucks. E.I.G. sought to develop the parking lot for other uses, but the restaurant owners opposed this change. The restaurant owners argued they had a prescriptive easement that gave them a right to use part of the parking lot for their customer parking and restaurant access. E.I.G. argued that because the parking lot was open to the public, the restaurant owners’ use did not meet the open-and-notorious standard required for a prescriptive right. The restaurant owners also argued that they had an implied easement, because the parking lot was the only way delivery trucks could reach the restaurant. The lower court granted summary judgment to E.I.G. on both the prescriptive-easement and implied-easement theories. The restaurant owners appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Konenkamp, J.)

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