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Michigan Supreme Court Rules No Dock Access Easement

Last fall I discussed a decision of the Michigan Court of Appeals in Krantz v Terrill, in "Dock Permitted at Access Easement – No Good Deed Goes Unpunished."  In that decision, the court of appeals permitted a dock to be maintained at an access easement based upon long standing use of a dock.

 

On June 5, 2013, the Michigan Supreme Court vacated the portions of the court of appeals' decision holding that the defendants had established a prescriptive right to erect a dock and moor boats to the dock at the end of the easement.  You can review that order here.  The Court explained that "hostile" use could not be tacked onto a period of permissive use to satisfy the 15 year period of adversity required for an adverse possession or prescriptive easement claim.

Though I believe the Court made the correct decision, Krantz serves as a reminder of the lengths and expense often required to protect one's waterfront property rights.

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About this Author

Eric Guerin, Litigation lawyer, Varnum
Partner

Real Estate and Riparian Rights

Much of Eric's practice concerns challenges faced by other riparian owners, including boundary disputes, quiet title actions, deed restrictions, adverse possession, land use and zoning matters, environmental issues, riparian rights, easements, road ends and access issues.  Though not unique to riparians, waterfront property owners encounter these issues more than most.  Eric's real estate practice also includes landlord/tenant law, construction lien and other construction law matters.

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