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Firm persuades Land Court judge to affirm broad easement rights for clients

Tyler Chapman and Matt Furman persuaded a Massachusetts Land Court judge to affirm on behalf of their clients broad easement rights for full access to their property via a driveway that crisscrosses the boundary lines of several subdivided parcels.

The decision resolves the first of a series of lawsuits between the subdivision owners arising out of disputes related to the existence and scope of the easement rights and their impact on the title, rights, and duties of the parties involved.

In interpreting a 1982 deed (as amended in 2014) that granted the easement as part of a subdivision of property in Brookline, Mass., the judge rejected the argument by owners of some of the abutting subdivided parcels that the easement was limited in scope to allowing the clients access to use the driveway only when vehicles are parked in a garage on the clients’ property.

The judge granted summary judgment to the clients, concluding in her 49-page decision that the broad easement language in the controlling deeds was unambiguous, as Mr. Chapman and Mr. Furman had argued.  She also found that circumstances surrounding the original granting of the easement as part of a subdivision of family property and subsequent use of the driveway over the decades supports the broad grant of easement rights.

Mr. Chapman, a partner at the firm, has a general litigation practice with a focus on commercial and real estate-related litigation. Mr. Furman has extensively represented landowners in a wide variety of real estate conflicts, including disputes related to deeds and easements.