Thorstrom v. Thorstrom

196 Cal. App. 4th 1406 (2011)

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Thorstrom v. Thorstrom

California Court of Appeal
196 Cal. App. 4th 1406 (2011)

LJ

Facts

Evelyn Sallinen owned land located in Fort Bragg, California. The land consisted of a larger 7.2-acre parcel and a smaller 1.37-acre parcel. A family home was located on the larger parcel. Evelyn and her husband resided on the smaller parcel. There were also three wells located on the two parcels. An old hand-dug well was located on the larger parcel. This well provided good water but would often go dry. A second well was drilled on the smaller parcel in 1969. This well serviced modest use on the smaller parcel and also served as backup to the larger parcel. In 1980 a larger well was drilled on the larger parcel so that the larger parcel would have more consistent access to water. The housing for the larger well and all of the electronics were located on the smaller parcel. In 1997 Evelyn transferred both parcels into a revocable living trust. The trust granted Wayne Thorstrom (plaintiff) the larger parcel and Alan Thorstrom (defendant) the smaller parcel. Evelyn also signed a handwritten document indicating that the two wells located on the larger parcel were intended for emergency purposes to serve the home on the larger parcel. Evelyn died in 2003, and her estate was administered through the trust. Without Wayne’s permission, Alan removed the faucet on the 1980 well and constructed a 2,500-gallon storage tank diverting its water to his property. After that time, the larger parcel only received small amounts of water. Wayne attempted to have plumbers determine why the larger parcel was not receiving water, and Alan threatened the workers. Wayne filed a complaint to quiet title, for declaratory and injunctive relief, and for trespass. The trial court held that Alan had an implied easement for the unrestricted use of water from the well located on the larger parcel. Wayne filed an appeal.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Dondero, J.)

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