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BEECHWOOD ET UX. v. REED ET UX. (03/20/70)

decided: March 20, 1970.

BEECHWOOD ET UX., APPELLANTS,
v.
REED ET UX., APPELLANTS



Appeals from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Chester County, No. 1794 of 1965, in case of George E. Beechwood et ux. v. Vincent M. Reed et ux.

COUNSEL

David F. Maxwell, with him William L. McLaughlin, and Obermayer, Rebmann, Maxwell & Hippel, for plaintiffs.

Fred T. Cadmus, III, for defendants.

Bell, C. J., Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts and Pomeroy, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Cohen.

Author: Cohen

[ 438 Pa. Page 179]

These appeals are taken from a decree in an action in equity in the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County. In this action George Beechwood and his wife, plaintiffs, seek injunctive relief to permit their use of a right-of-way across the property of Vincent Reed and his wife, defendants, over a former public road, Green Lane Road, for access to four tracts of land owned by the Beechwoods.

In 1934 George Beechwood purchased two tracts of land (labelled Tract #1 and Tract #2 on the map) in West Pikeland Township of Chester County. Thereafter he conveyed these tracts to himself and his wife as tenants by the entireties. In 1936 Vincent Reed and his wife purchased Tract #5. In 1938 the Reeds leased Tracts #3, 4 and 6 from a mining company and from that time tried to acquire title to the rented premises. In 1945 the Reeds received an opportunity

[ 438 Pa. Page 180]

    to purchase the property but were unable to finance the purchase of the entire 76 acres. Since Tract #3 was situated between and connected the two Beechwood tracts, Reed approached Beechwood and on October 1, 1945 arranged with him that the Beechwoods purchase from the Reeds out of the 76 acres Tracts #3 and 4. The Reeds purchased the 76 acres and by deed dated February 1, 1946 conveyed the 17 and 9 acre tracts to Beechwoods.

[ 438 Pa. Page 181]

This dispute has arisen because of plaintiffs' desire to use Green Lane Road as a means of access to Art School Road. In support of their claim, plaintiffs have presented three theories: (1) that there has been the establishment of a public easement by prescription; (2) that there has been the creation of an easement by implication on severance benefiting Tracts #3 and 4; and (3) that there has been the creation of an easement by implication because the deeds conveying Tracts #3 and 4 describe the tracts as extending along that road.

The trial judge found that the evidence supported plaintiffs' third theory and issued a decree stating that they had an easement over Green Lane Road from their property line to Art School Road for use as a right-of-way. The court en banc agreed as to the legal theory but found that this was an easement appurtenant to the land conveyed by the deed and that the decree should be modified to limit the easement to uses appurtenant to Tracts #3 and 4. Defendants have appealed from the finding that any easement ...


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