An interesting case is on appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court: City of Arlington, Texas v. FCC, 668 F.3d 229 (5th Cir. 2012).* Oral arguments were held at SCOTUS on January 16.
Easement agreements are used to address a wide array of issues and interests of landowners including resolving property disputes, clarifying property rights between neighbors or granting new rights of access. Common to all however, is the fact that one person's land will be used by another party or person or sometimes many parties and persons. Right of way agreements that allow others to pass and repass over the land of another often raise questions about the liability of the landowner for loss or injury occurring to the easement holder or third parties who might use the easement-whether with permission or without. What then are the essential duties involved in this relationship and what can be done to mitigate exposure to landowners? As we will see, the relationship between the landowner (the owner of the servient estate) and the easement holder (the owner of the dominant estate) and various third parties is governed by competing legal propositions.
There has already been much recent zoning buzz about the impending medical marijuana dispensaries, and a significant SJC ruling (ZBA of Lunenburg v. Housing Appeals Committee) in the Chapter 40B affordable housing front, so let's take a look at what else is happening in the realm of zoning and planning around Massachusetts during the first week or so into the New Year.
An interesting case-much less frustrating one for the plaintiff-developer involved-came out of the Appeals Court at the very end of 2012. In Buccaneer Dev., Inc. v. Zoning Bd. of Appeals of Lenox, Docket No. 11-P-1159 (Mass. App. Ct. Dec. 28, 2012), the sole issue before the court was whether the Housing Court had jurisdiction to decide a transferred case that was initially filed in the Land Court permit session.