M.P.M. Builders, LLC v. Leslie Dwyer

809 N.E.2d 1053 (2004)


D owns a parcel of land abutting property owned by P. D purchased his parcel in 1941, and, in the deed, he was conveyed an easement, a 'right of way along the cartway to Pine Street,' across D's land. The cartway provides D access to his property at three separate points. The deed contains no language concerning its relocation. P received municipal approval for a plan to subdivide and develop its property into seven house lots. D's easement cuts across and interferes with three of P's planned lots. P offered to construct two new access easements to D's property. These would continue to provide unrestricted access from the public street to D's parcel in the same general areas as the existing cartway. The relocation would allow unimpeded construction on P's three house lots. D objected to the proposed easement relocation. P sought a declaration that it has a right unilaterally to relocate D's easement. The judge entered summary judgment against P and dismissed the case. The 'settled' common law is that once the location of an easement has been fixed, it cannot be changed except by agreement of the estate owners. P made an application for direct appellate review to decide whether the law should permit the owner of a servient estate to change the location of an easement without the easement holder's consent.