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Thurston Enterprises, Inc. v. Baldi

New Hampshire Supreme Court
128 N.H. 760 (1986)


Facts

Thurston Enterprises, Inc. (Thurston) (plaintiff) operated a marina adjoining a drive-in movie theater owned by Lawrence Baldi (defendant). In 1978, Baldi sold part of his land to Thurston so that Thurston could develop the land into parking and boat-storage facilities for the marina. At the time of the sale, vehicles could not access the sold land except by traveling over Baldi’s drive-in theater. As a result, Baldi deeded Thurston an easement across the theater that consisted of a 50-foot wide course beginning at the theater entrance, passing under the theater marquee, going past the ticket booth, and crossing into Thurston’s parcel. In 1979, Thurston began using the easement to truck-fill his parcel. The paving on the right of way was not designed for heavy truck traffic. Further, the 10-wheeled trucks were too high to pass under the marquee and too wide to stay on the right of way as they went around the ticket booth. Consequently, the trucks went around the marquee rather than under it, and went into speaker aisles that were not part of the easement. The trucks destroyed the pavement and caused deep ruts both in the right of way and where they had veered out of the right of way. Thurston filed a petition to enjoin Baldi from blocking the easement. The court-appointed master found that, at the time of the conveyance, neither party had contemplated that the right of way would be so extensively used by heavy trucks. The master further found that Thurston had destroyed the right of way’s surface and subsurface by using the easement unreasonably and enlarging the granted easement. The master ordered Thurston to repave the easement, repair the speaker aisles, limit his trucks to no more than five per day, and rebuild the rutted areas of the right of way. Both parties appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Batchelder, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
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