Case Caption: Rena Brodhurst v. Jeffrey FrazierCase Number: S. Ct. Civ. No. 2011-0003Date: 09/12/2012Author: Hodge, Rhys S. Citation: Summary:

In a declaratory judgment action to establish the existence of an easement for access to and from a landlocked parcel of land, the Superior Court erred in entering summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff. Even if an implied easement had been created pursuant to section 2.13 of the Restatement (Third) of Property: Servitudes, 28 V.I.C. § 124 precludes plaintiff from enforcing the unrecorded encumbrance against the defendant if she lacked actual or constructive notice of the easement before she recorded her interest in the purportedly servient property. Here the "OLG Drawing" referenced by deed and relied upon to support the existence of an easement is not so clear and unambiguous as to warrant the trial court in concluding, as a matter of law, that there was no jury issue as to whether it was sufficient to have alerted the defendant that an easement may exist over the property. The drawing contains no text that explains the purpose of an arrow and dotted line shown, let alone anything that would unquestionably place someone on notice that these components of the drawing have any relevance to text relating to a "30' Joint Use Driveway." Given that the diagram is unclear, the Superior Court should not-at the summary judgment stage-have interpreted the meaning of the lines. Instead, it should have permitted the finder of fact, who would be able to weigh the evidence, to perform this task at trial. The grant of summary judgment is reversed and the case is and remanded to the Superior Court for further proceedings.

Attachment: Open Document or Opinion