Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Cedar Beach/Cedar Island Supporters Inc. v. Gables Real Estate LLC

Supreme Court of Maine

July 19, 2016

CEDAR BEACH/CEDAR ISLAND SUPPORTERS, INC., et al.
v.
GABLES REAL ESTATE LLC

          Argued: November 4, 2015

         On the briefs:

          Christian T. Chandler, Esq., and Benjamin M. Leoni, Esq., Curtis Thaxter, LLC, Portland, for appellant Gables Real Estate, LLC

          David W. Bertoni, Esq., Stacy O. Stitham, Esq., and Anne M. Torregrossa, Esq., Brann & Isaacson, Lewiston, for appellee Cedar Beach/Cedar Island Supporters, Inc.

         At oral argument:

          Christian T. Chandler, Esq., for appellant Gables Real Estate, LLC

          David W. Bertoni, Esq., for appellee Cedar Beach/Cedar Island Supporters, Inc.

          Panel: SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, and HJELM, JJ.

          JABAR, J.

         [¶1] Gables Real Estate LLC (Gables) appeals from a judgment of the Superior Court (Cumberland County, Mills, J.), entered after a three-day bench trial, declaring that the public has a prescriptive easement over a parcel of property Gables owns known as Cedar Beach Road. Because we determine that the elements of adversity and nonacquiescence were not established, we vacate the judgment.

         I. BACKGROUND

         [¶2] Members of the public, both individually and collectively as Cedar Beach/Cedar Island Supporters, Inc. (the claimants), brought this action seeking a declaratory judgment that the public had acquired a prescriptive easement over a privately-owned right-of-way known as Cedar Beach Road. In its seventy-three-page judgment addressing these claims, the court's discussion of this property and its use covered testimony presented about the actions of various individuals since the early twentieth century. The court made numerous findings of fact, all of which are supported by competent evidence in the record. For the sake of brevity, and because we have no reason to question any of the court's findings, we reference only a very limited number of those findings below.

         [¶3] Eugene McCarty owned Cedar Beach Road from 1926 to 1957. During his ownership, he permitted the public to walk down Cedar Beach Road to access Cedar Island Beach and the Small Beach (collectively, the beaches). To keep vehicular traffic off of the road, however, he installed a chain, which remained in place for many years. In 1959, McCarty's estate transferred certain property (Parcel I, or, the Ridge Property) to his niece, Julia Sturtevant, and her daughter, Meredith Starbranch. Also in 1959, Sturtevant and her husband purchased another parcel previously owned by McCarty (Parcel II, or, the Cedar Beach Road), which was transferred to Sturtevant and Starbranch in 1961.

         [¶4] Starting in the 1960s, the use of the road by members of the public became a source of complaints by the owners of the road and some of the families who had deeded rights-of-way over the road because members of the public frequently littered on Cedar Beach Road and used the road to attend parties on the neighboring beaches. The Haley family, which owned[1] a deeded appurtenant easement over Cedar Beach Road, erected two six-foot pieces of chain-link fence across the road sometime between 1978 and 1980. Within days the fence was "mowed down by a pickup truck" driven by Scott Allen, a member of the public who did not reside on Cedar Beach Road.

         [¶5] Cedar Beach Road was acquired by Richard and Phyllis Perry in 1982. In December 1987, in compliance with 14 M.R.S. § 812 (2015), [2] the Perrys and the owners of an adjacent parcel posted a notice to the public on their property for six ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.