Home EVAN WILE, individually and as Trustee of West Street Realty Trust v. JOHN E. RATTIGAN, JR., Trustee of Edgewater House Trust, and JEFFREY E. HORVITZ, sole beneficiary of Edgewater House Trust

MISC 304412

November 26, 2008

ESSEX, ss.

Long, J.


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Plaintiff Evan Wile, individually and as trustee of the West Street Realty Trust, brought this action to declare and enforce his easement rights over the land of defendants John Rattigan, Jr. (the trustee of the Edgewater House Trust) and Jeffrey Horvitz (the sole beneficiary of the Edgewater House Trust). Specifically, Mr. Wile contends that the gate Mr. Horvitz constructed across the right of way violates a previous judgment of this court [Note 1] and “constitute[s] an intentional and unprivileged interference with Wile’s easement rights and therefore constitute[s] a trespass against those rights.” Amended Complaint to Enjoin Defendants from Interfering with Plaintiff’s Use of His Easement at 8 (March 15, 2005). Additionally, Mr. Wile seeks “a judgment declaring that his easement across [a portion of the defendants’ property] is a uniform 20’ in width throughout, confirming the location of the easement and Wile’s right to improve the easement for its entire 20’ width, declaring that the gate unreasonably interferes with Wile’s easement rights, and providing permanent injunctive relief.” Id. at 9. Messrs. Rattigan and Horvitz contend that the gate does not unreasonably interfere with Mr. Wile’s use of the easement and further contend that the 1997 Decision determined the location and width of the easement, a portion of which (they contend) was determined to be less than twenty feet. Accordingly, Messrs. Rattigan and Horvitz invoke the doctrines of res judicata and judicial estoppel in response to Mr. Wile’s declaratory judgment count regarding the width and location of the easement.

Mr. Wile, Mr. Rattigan, and Mr. Horvitz have filed cross-motions for summary judgment. For the reasons set forth in the court’s Memorandum and Order on the Parties’ Cross-Motions for Summary Judgment of this date, the parties’ cross-motions for summary judgment are ALLOWED in part and DENIED in part. Chief Justice Kilborn’s 1997 Decision determined the location of the right of way as depicted in Exhibit A to the memorandum and order. That right of way is twenty-feet wide for its entire length. Mr. Wile has the right to maintain and improve the right of way, consistent with its purpose as a way. Finally, the gate that Mr. Horvitz erected over the width of the right of way constitutes a material inconvenience to Mr. Wile’s right to use the way and must be removed within thirty days of the date of this Judgment.


By the court (Long, J.)


[Note 1] The previous decision and judgment were in Rattigan v. Wile, Land Ct. Misc. Case No. 185358 (Jan. 13, 1997) (Kilborn, C.J.) (hereinafter, the “1997 Decision”).