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Williams Bros. Inc. of Marshfield v. Peck

Massachusetts Court of Appeals
966 N.E.2d 860 (2012)


Facts

A parcel of land (parcel A) serving as a cranberry bog contained easement rights and access onto another parcel (parcel B). The easement rights included (a) a right of way; (b) a right to take sand; (c) a right to build bog houses; and (d) a right to cut trees if the trees shaded the cranberry bog. Subsequently, parcels A and B were combined under a single owner. However, the parcels were then split again, parcel A being conveyed to George and Marjorie Peck (defendants) and parcel B conveyed to Williams Brothers, Inc. of Marshfield (Williams) (plaintiff). The deed conveying the property to the Pecks included the easement rights listed in a prior deed. The deed conveying parcel B to Williams did not list the easement rights. Additionally, the Pecks’ parcel was registered and they possessed a certificate of registration. In Massachusetts, the purpose of registration was to provide a method of making titles to land certain and to protect the certificate holder. The Pecks removed sand and cut trees on the Williams property as provided for by the easement. Williams filed suit against the Pecks, contending that any easement over its land had been terminated due to common ownership of both parcels many years before. The land court judge held for Williams and ordered the easement language struck from the Peck’s certificate of title. The Pecks appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Kantrowitz, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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