SYLLABUS BY THE COURT
implied easement by reservation or grant requires several
factors. First, a landowner must use his or her land in such
a way that part of that land gives a benefit of a continuous,
permanent, and apparent nature to another part of his or her
land. This is also known as a "quasi-easement." The
part of the land giving the benefit is known as the
quasi-servient tenement, and the part of the land receiving
the benefit is known as the quasi-dominant tenement.
2. If a
landowner sells a quasi-dominant tenement, the quasi-easement
then becomes an implied easement and will be retained only if
necessary for the reasonable enjoyment of the sold property.
implied easement by reservation or grant does not require
strict necessity. Instead this type of implied easement is
based on the intent of the parties and what expectations one
party could reasonably foresee the other party had from the
sale of the land.
Generally, parties intend to continue using the land in the
same way known to them to a considerable degree necessary to
the continued usefulness of the land. The parties will be
assumed to know and to contemplate the continuance of
reasonably necessary uses which have so altered the premises
as to make them apparent upon reasonably prudent
existence of an implied easement may be voided if it is
subsequently overburdened by abnormal development of the
quasi-dominant tenement. But an implied easement will be
upheld when it is reasonably necessary for the enjoyment of
the quasi-dominant tenement.
Courts determine whether an implied easement has been
overburdened by reviewing what the parties might reasonably
have expected from future uses of the dominant tenement. What
the parties might reasonably have expected is to be
ascertained from the circumstances existing at the time of
the conveyance. It is to be assumed that they anticipated
such uses as might reasonably be required by a normal
development of the dominant tenement. It is not to be assumed
that they anticipated an abnormal development.
Under the doctrine of equitable estoppel, courts may prevent
a person from asserting his or her rights against another
when the other detrimentally relied upon the voluntary
conduct of the person now asserting rights. A party claiming
equitable estoppel must show another party, by his or her
acts, representations, admissions, or silence when he or she
had a duty to speak, induced the claimant to believe certain
facts existed. The claimant must also show it rightfully
relied and acted upon such belief and would now be prejudiced
if the other person were allowed to deny the existence of
from Osborne District Court; Preston Pratt, judge.
Morrical, of Hampton & Royce, L.C., of Salina, for
S. Gregory, of Gregory & Gregory, of Osborne, for
Schroeder, P.J., Standridge, J., and Walker, S.J.
Schlaefli, the James F. Schlaefli Trust, and the Roberta A.
Schlaefli Trust (Schlaeflis) appeal the district court's
findings that Raymond DeBey and Ginger DeBey (DeBeys), who
own property adjacent to Schlaeflis, have easements of
various types needed to operate their seed business over
Schlaeflis' adjoining land. Because we find that the
district court properly applied the law and there is
substantial competent evidence supporting the court's
findings, we affirm.
case involves the disputed use of two tracts of property
lying along U.S. Highway 24 just outside of and to the east
of Downs in Osborne County, Kansas. The parties refer to them
as the West tract (currently owned by Schlaeflis) and the
East tract (currently owned by DeBeys). Twenty years before
inheriting the land, James Schlaefli's father erected a
building on the East tract. His father passed away in 2000.
James and his brother inherited several pieces of property,
including both the West and East tracts, with each owning an
undivided one-half. The brothers traded property interests,
and James acquired both the West and East tract. James and
his wife transferred their ownership interests of the
property into their trusts.
south of the West and East tracts is Highway 24. North of the
two tracts of land is a large water diversion ditch. East of
the East tract is additional land purchased by DeBeys from
third parties who are not involved in this lawsuit. The West
tract contains a house and several other buildings. At the
eastern edge of the West tract is a building James used as
his shop. Unless James was out of town, he was at his shop
24 runs south of the two tracts of land, and there are two
driveways. The first driveway is on the western part of the
West tract and curves south of the house and James' shop.
A dirt path runs from the north part of the tracts a few feet
east of his shop. This dirt path then merges with the second
second driveway is the primary source of this controversy.
This driveway connects Highway 24 to the south and the dirt
path. One branch of it curves west to the first driveway and
the other branch curves east to the building James'
father erected on the East tract. His father regularly used
the second (eastern) driveway to travel from Highway 24 to
his building on the East tract. When James inherited both
tracts of land, he used the eastern driveway like his father
2006, Raymond DeBey rented the building on the East tract to
run his bulk seed business close to Highway 24. James allowed
Raymond to use the eastern driveway like James and his father
had used it. James knew Raymond intended to run his seed
business from the East tract. Raymond then bought the East
tract from James in 2007 because he did not want to build
seed bins on rented property. James also sold Raymond some
farm equipment just east of the dirt path, on what both men
believed to be the East tract owned by Raymond. Both men
believed the two tracts of land were divided by the dirt
2007, Raymond built bulk seed tanks just to the east of the
building built by James' father. Raymond also built a
conveyor belt and other equipment to load seed for his
customers. This ...