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Thomas v. Willeger

Superior Court of Maine, Aroostook

March 27, 2018

Shelby D. Thomas et al. Plaintiff's
v.
Kent M. Willeger et al. Defendants

          ORDER ON MOTIONS

          E. Allen Hunter Justice, Superior Court, Active Retired

         Both parties now come before the court seeking enforcement of n settlement agreement that each contends they entered into following mediation of the pending, litigation on June 16, 2016.[1]

         BACKGROUND[2]

This litigation centers around the Pratt Cove Road, a graveled Private road m Island Falls that begins at an i intersection with the Dow Farm Road and runs in a southeasterly direction towards Mattnwainkcag, Lake. Both the Plaintiffs and the Defendants use the Pratt Cove Road to access their properties, At a point near the intersection of the northerly boundary line of the Plaintiffs' property and the Defendants' property, the Pratt Cove Road enters the Defendants' property and continues along the shared boundary line of the Plaintiffs' and Defendants' properties.

         In the spring of 2014, a dispute arose between the parties regarding their respective rights in the Pratt Cove Road. This litigation appears to have been triggered by the Defendants' placement of two large boulders on the Pratt Cove Road approximately 70 feet north of the southerly boundary of the Plaintiffs' property. The boulders blocked access to the road beyond.

         The Plaintiffs filed their suit seeking to quiet title to the easement described in their deeds; seeking to establish an easement over the Pratt Cove Road by adverse possession; seeking to establish a prescriptive easement over the Pratt Cove Road; seeking to establish title to the Pratt Cove Road as it is situated on the Defendants' property and seeking a declaratory judgment regarding their rights in the Pratt Cove Road.

         The Defendants responded to the complaint and filed a counterclaim seeking a declaratory judgment that any easements described in the Plaintiffs' deeds were void or otherwise limited. The Defendants' pleadings did not seek to establish any particular rights in the Plaintiffs' deeded property interests.

         The parties proceeded to mediation on June 16, 2016. Each party regarded the mediation as having been successful and each signed a "Memorandum of Understanding" that provided as follows:

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING
The undersigned confirm that as a result of the Mediation Session, held on June 16, 2016, the parties agree to settle their dispute for the following amount: see attached Settlement Agreement.
The respective parties agree to be bound by this settlement and agree to prepare and /or sign formal releases and any other documents needed to complete this mediated settlement.

         The Settlement Agreement provided as follows:

SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT
1. [The Defendants] will give a Perpetual Deed of Easement to the [Plaintiffs] (hereinafter Owners) establishing a right of way for ingress and ingress by people, motor vehicles, etc., terminating at the point where the [Defendants] placed the rocks. This Deed shall benefit the Owners, their heirs and assigns. It shall not extend ...

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