Case Caption: Estate Chocolate Hole Landowners' Associate Inc. v. Cenni et alCase Number: SCT-CIV-2023-0015Date: 04/23/2024Author: Hodge, Rhys S. Citation: 2024 VI 20Summary: On appeal from a judgment of the Superior Court which, for reasons given in findings of fact and conclusions of law entered on December 29, 2022, found that the appellees possess an implied easement permitting them to develop a road suitable for vehicular access on a parcel owned by the appellant, the judgment is affirmed. The Superior Court committed error when it failed to rule on the summary judgment motion and instead proceeded directly to a trial on the merits, but that error is harmless in this case where the appellant has not expressly sought reversal on that basis and a trial on the merits has occurred. This Court recently adopted the factors set forth in § 2.13 of the RESTATEMENT (THIRD) OF PROPERTY: SERVITUDES as the rule governing the creation of implied easements in the Virgin Islands. Here, there is no dispute over fulfillment of most of the formalities required by law, and the question is whether the deed contains “a description of the property sufficient to identify it with reasonable certainty” so that it is clear what property Massac intended to convey. Here, the Roads Deed did not meet the minimum statutory requirements for a valid conveyance of Parcel 557 from Massac to the appellant, and thus Massac remained the owner of Parcel 557 when he sold Parcel 501 to the Galats. The Superior Court ultimately arrived at the correct conclusion that Massac conveyed an implied easement for the use of Parcel 557 for vehicular access to Parcel 501 because other aspects of both the deed and the T89 drawing provide powerful evidence of such an intent. The Superior Court did not commit error when it found that an implied easement existed to permit vehicular access over Parcel 557 for ingress to and egress from Parcel 501. Because Massac owned Parcel 557 at the time he conveyed Parcel 501 to the Galats, he possessed legal authority to encumber Parcel 557 with a new easement. The Superior Court also correctly held that Massac intended to create an implied easement. Accordingly, the February 28, 2023 judgment of the Superior Court is affirmed.Attachment: Open Document or Opinion