Easement Must Result in Access to a Public Road at Time of Severance

This matter involves a landlocked tract of land and property adjacent to it that were part of an 1853 land grant from the State of Texas. The land grant was partitioned into separate tracts in 1866 at which time the tracts were severed. Staley, the eventual owner of the landlocked tract and owner of the alleged dominant estate, sought to establish that it had an easement either by necessity, estoppel, or implication. Stiles counterclaimed for a declaration that no such easement existed.

The trial court rendered judgment that Staley was not entitled to an easement. Staley appealed, abandoning its claims of easement by estoppel and implication, and arguing only that it proved it was entitled to an easement by necessity. The court of appeals, affirming the trial court’s ruling, held that there was no evidence that, at the time the two tracts were severed, the easement would have resulted in access to a public road from the landlocked property.

The Texas Supreme Court, affirming the court of appeals’ ruling, held that Staley failed to establish that at the time of the severance in 1866, that an easement was necessary to provide access to a public road.

This case is Staley Family P’ship, Ltd. V. Stiles, 14-0591, 2016 WL 369567, at *1 (Tex. Jan. 29, 2016)

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