The Plaintiffs, Robert J. Ranalli, Mary Ann B. Ranalli, and Mary Ann B. Ranalli as Trustee of the Mary Ann B. Ranalli 1995 Qualified Personal Residence Trust (collectively, the Plaintiffs or the Ranallis) filed a Verified Complaint on July 15, 2009, seeking a declaratory judgment that there is a valid and binding cross-easement agreement between the Ranallis and Defendant Keitha S. Fine (Ms. Fine), under which Ms. Fine has a perpetual, appurtenant easement to maintain her electrical service connection to the transformer on the Ranalli land and the Ranallis have a perpetual, appurtenant view easement which allows them to trim trees on the Fine property in order to maintain their views of the Gay Head Lighthouse and the Atlantic Ocean. [Note 1]
In addition to denying the existence of enforceable cross-easements, and asserting that the Plaintiffs actions are barred by the Statute of Frauds, Ms. Fine counterclaimed against the Ranallis, seeking an injunction prohibiting the Ranallis from entering onto her property, as well as damages for trespass and treble damages for willful trespass to trees. The trial in the matter was conducted on January 10 and 11, 2011. Both parties submitted post-trial briefs following receipt of the trial transcripts. A Decision has now been issued, dated December 12, 2011.
In accordance with the December 12, 2011 Decision, it is hereby:
ORDERED, ADJUDGED and DECLARED that there is no enforceable cross-agreement between the Ranallis and Keitha Fine for the grant of easements. It is further
ORDERED, ADJUDGED and DECLARED that the Ranalli Property is not benefited by, and the Fine Property is not burdened by, a perpetual, appurtenant view easement allowing the owners of the Ranalli Property to trim trees on the Fine Property in order to maintain or improve their views. It is further
ORDERED, ADJUDGED and DECLARED that the Fine Property is not benefited by, and the Ranalli Property is not burdened by, a perpetual, appurtenant easement to maintain an electrical service connection from the Fine Property to the transformer on the Ranalli Property. It is further
ORDERED, ADJUDGED and DECLARED that the Ranallis repeatedly and intentionally entered the Fine Property by periodically causing a third party to trim trees located thereon over an eleven-year period without any privilege to do so, thereby committing repeated trespasses. It is further
ORDERED and ADJUDGED that the Ranallis, their agents, servants, employees, attorneys and those persons in active concert or participation with the Ranallis are permanently enjoined from entering onto the Fine Property to cut or trim any of the trees thereon except with prior written permission from the owner of said Property. It is further
ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that Ms. Fine, at her own expense shall remove or cause to be removed the underground electrical line which presently crosses the Ranalli Property to connect Ms. Fines electrical service to the transformer on the Ranalli Property. Said removal, which shall include restoration of any landscaping on the Ranalli Property which may be caused thereby, is to be carried out in a reasonable and safe manner and is to be completed within 180 days of the date this Judgment enters. It is further
ORDERED and ADJUDGED that the Defendants counterclaim for trespass to trees under G.L. c. 242, § 7, is hereby DISMISSED. It is further
ORDERED and ADJUDGED that no damages, costs, fees or other monetary amounts are awarded to any party.
By the court (Cutler, J.)
[Note 1] At trial, the Plaintiffs abandoned their claim with respect to the ocean view easement.