Aztec Limited, Inc. v. Creekside Investment Company

Supreme Court of Idaho, 1979.

100 Idaho 566, 602 P.2d 64.

Johnson, pp. 667-671

 

Facts: Aztec bought some land that it thought was located north of Pocatello Creek Road.  After checking it out, they realized that they also bought a slice of property south of the road and a bit of the road itself.  Even though there wasn’t a recorded easement for the road, Aztec realized that a public prescriptive right of way had been created on the road.  There is also a dead-end street that runs off Pocatello Creek Road called Freeman Lane.  Originally, it was built to provide access to four houses.  The easement for this road doesn’t quite reach the main road; there is a gap of a few feet.  Aztec admitted that the residents of the four houses have a limited prescriptive easement across Aztec’s property.  The dead end street was paved in 1973.  In 1976, Creekside started developing a 200-unit apartment complex on Freeman Lane.  In 1977, Aztec sued Creekside for trespass for greatly increasing the traffic across the disputed strip of land and widening the road.  The trial court held that the Freeman Lane prescriptive easement was public and that the widening and increased use of the road didn’t amount to a trespass.

 

Issue: Did the trial court correctly find that Creekside’s actions did not constitute an actionable trespass?

 

Rule:

 

Analysis:

 

Conclusion: The appellate court reverses the trial court’s judgment and remands for the determination of damages or equitable relief or both.

 

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