FRANCESCA V. GURECKA, Appellee
ROBERT W. CARROLL AND HOLLY LACEY CARROLL, Appellants
from the Order Entered July 11, 2014 In the Court of Common
Pleas of Allegheny County Civil Division at No(s): GD
BEFORE: GANTMAN, P.J., FORD ELLIOTT, P.J.E., BENDER, P.J.E.,
BOWES, J., PANELLA, J., SHOGAN, J., LAZARUS, J., OLSON, J.,
and OTT, J.
W. Carroll and Holly Lacey Carroll (Appellants or the
Carrolls) appeal from the July 11, 2014 order that entered a
permanent injunction enjoining them from interfering with the
repair and use of a sewer line located on their property that
services the nearby residence owned by Francesca V. Gurecka
(Appellee or Ms. Gurecka). We affirm.
The trial court set forth the factual background of the case
On October 31, 2011, [Appellee], Francesca Gurecka, entered
into a written Standard Agreement for the sale of real estate
with Rachel French and William Ommert, the purchasers, for
the sale price of $390, 000.00. The closing date was set for
November 30, 2011. On or about November 18, 2011, it was
discovered during a municipal dye test that the sewer line
servicing the property had a blockage which required repair.
The plumber employed to make the repairs inserted a camera
into the sewer line and discovered that the sewer line
lateral proceeded to run downhill, under Forest Glen Drive
and through the property of [the Carrolls]. The plumber
started to perform excavation and repair of the sewer line on
the Carroll property when Holly Lacey Carroll instructed the
plumber to cease all work and immediately vacate her
Common Pleas Court Judge Judith Friedman issued a preliminary
injunction on December 2, 2011, authorizing the reasonable
repairs of the sewer line pending further litigation and
required [Ms.] Gurecka to post a $5, 000.00 bond. Due to the
future litigation surrounding the sewer line repair, the
sales agreement between Francesca Gurecka and Rachel
French/William Ommert was terminated. Francesca Gurecka next
sought a permanent injunction seeking to restrict the
Carrolls from interfering with the repair or continued use of
the sewer line. Francesca Gurecka maintains that she has a
right to continued use and maintenance of the sewer due to an
easement by implication, or implied easement. This case was
assigned to this writer to decide whether a permanent
injunction should issue, as a future sewer line blockage
coupled with the Carrolls['] refusal to allow maintenance
of the line may render the property uninhabitable.
The Carrolls maintain that they have had plans to
reposition their driveway from the time of their purchase
in March of 2011. The Carrolls further maintain that if the
Gurecka line was to remain in the current location, any
hopes of redesigning and repositioning their driveway would
be impossible. The Carrolls assert that the sewer line
encroaches 13 feet into their 107 foot wide lot, rendering
12.15% of their property unusable.
Trial Court Opinion (TCO), 7/11/14, at 1-2.
response to an order issued by the trial court, the parties
submitted a joint stipulation of the undisputed facts, which
was then adopted by the trial court. The following pertinent
items are contained in the joint statement:
1. [Appellee], Francesca V. Gurecka, is an individual
residing at 603 Cherry Blossom Way, Bridgeville, Pennsylvania
15017 and is the Trustee of the Alba N. Valli Irrevocable
Trust, title[d] owner of real estate located at 8 Forest Glen
Drive, Pittsburgh, Mt. Lebanon, Allegheny County,
Pennsylvania 15228 (the "Property").
2. [Appellants], Robert W. Carroll and Holly Lacey Carroll
are individuals residing at 13 Forest Glen Drive, Pittsburgh,
Mt. Lebanon, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania 15228 ([the
3. On October 5, 1936, Orca Geyer ("Geyer")
acquired approximately 13 acres in Mt. Lebanon from Beverly
Heights Company, by deed dated October 5, 1936, and recorded
in the office of the Recorder of Deeds of Allegheny County in
Deed Book Volume 2540, Page 204.
4. Geyer thereafter developed Forest Glen, a subdivision,
which was proposed in October 1948, and accepted by Mt.
Lebanon and recorded January 17, 1949, in Plan Book Volume
44, Pages 17, 18 and 19 (hereinafter "Forest Glen
Subdivision"). Forest Glen Subdivision contained 25
5. The Property is known and referred to as Lot 4 and part of
Lot 5 in the Forest Glen Subdivision.
6. [The Carrolls'] Property is known and referred to as
Lot 18 in the Forest Glen Subdivision.
7. A right of way for public sewer lines runs behind Lots 12,
13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 and 21 in the Forest Glen
Subdivision. These lots would be considered to be on the
"low side" of Forest Glen Drive.
8. Lots 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 are on the
opposite side of Forest Glen Drive and therefore on the
opposite side of the public right of way. These lots would be
considered on the "high side" of Forest Glen Drive.
9. [Ms. Gurecka's] "high side" lot had no
direct access to the public sewer therefore, Geyer, as
developer, between 1949 and 1956, constructed a sewer line
which went through the [the Carrolls'] "low
side" lot and connected to the manhole which is in the
public right of way.
10. The sewer line at issue which runs through [the
Carrolls'] Property is located approximately 13 feet from
the boundary line with Lot No. 17.
11. Geyer lived in the Property for a period of time between
the 1940s and 1969. Geyer granted and conveyed Lot 18 (the
Carrolls' lot) to S. Boyd Challinor and Ruth G.
Challinor, by deed dated October 2, 1956, and recorded in the
Office of the Recorder of Deeds of Allegheny County in Deed
Book Volume 3529, Page 489 (the "Challinor Deed").
12.The Challinor Deed does not contain an express easement
for the existing sewer line from the Property through and
across the ...