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Whitt v. Ferris

596 N.E.2d 230 (1992)

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Whitt v. Ferris

Indiana Court of Appeals

596 N.E.2d 230 (1992)

Facts

John and Mary Kumpf purchased and subdivided a large tract of land. The Kumpfs later vacated all of the subdivided lots except Lots 1 through 6. The Kumpfs had not sold any lots when they vacated. Donald and Nancy Ferris (plaintiffs) acquired Lot 5 in the subdivision and Lot 8 in the vacated portion of the subdivision. The Ferrises could access Lot 8 via Lot 5. Rick and Pamela Jones (plaintiffs) purchased Lot 6. Norman and Valna Stettler (plaintiffs) purchased Lot 7, which was landlocked other than a dirt road that had been graded by the Kumpfs when they purchased the land. The dirt road was 20 feet wide and was surrounded by 20-foot-wide strips of grass on either side. The dirt road abutted Lots 5–8 and all plaintiffs used it to access their lots. The plaintiffs also used the grass strips for parking at times. The Kumpfs had planned to turn the dirt road into a fully functioning street, but that never occurred after they vacated the land. Lots 5 and 6 also abutted a public road. Johnny and Bonnie Whitt (defendants) purchased the land surrounding Lots 5–8, including the dirt road. The Whitts objected to the plaintiffs’ continued use of the dirt road and put up a fence. The plaintiffs brought suit, claiming that they had an easement by implication over the dirt road. The trial court granted the plaintiffs a 60-foot-wide easement, including the road and grass strips. Whitt appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Conover, J.)

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