South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Prescriptive Easement Established After Ten Years Open Use of Driveway
Description Appeals court held that a long-time property owner, who had used a driveway to access his property for more than ten years, had obtained a prescriptive easement to continue access to his property. The new owners of the property that the driveway crossed could not prohibit his use of the driveway.
Topic Real and Personal Property
Key Words Easement; Prescriptive Easement; Adverse Possession
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Sims owned property on which he raised livestock. His deed to the property was recorded in 1985, but the property had been in use by his family for 50 years before that. The property had always been accessed via a driveway from a state highway. In 1996, the Morans bought property surrounding the Sims property, including the driveway used by Sims to access his property. Sims filed to obtain an easement for his right to use the driveway to access his property. Sims and the Morans could not agree on an easement, so the matter was referred to court. The court held that Sims had a prescriptive easement and so had right of access from the highway to his property. The Morans appealed.
Decision

Affirmed. An easement may be acquired by ten years possession. Prescription, or adverse possession, occurs if there is ten years of use that is open, notorious, visible, hostile, under a claim of ownership, exclusive, peaceful, continuous and uninterrupted. There was no evidence that the open use of the driveway by Sims had ever been opposed. Sims had exercised an exclusive claim to use the driveway without interruption for more than ten years.

Citation Moran v. Sims, --- So.2d --- (2004 WL 1098937, Ct. App., Miss., 2004)

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