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  1. #1
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    Jul 2009
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    Michigan
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    Default Doctrine of Impossibility in Michigan

    I currently have a situation in which the city I live in vacated an alley some 15 years ago and in doing so provided an ingress and egress easement to 4 lots of land interior to the alley (which was physically blocked off behind my house on my property line) at this time the people behind me had a means of pulling off of the alley onto their property the alley was 20' in width. A few years the persons behind me were granted a building permit to expand their building and excavated their part of the easement (10') and created a shear 12' drop-off which no vehicle could possibly turn on to or off of. The language of the abandonment is very clear and states ingress and egress but they are threatening me with legal action because I will not allow them to park machinery and vehicles in the alley on my personal property. The city granted the easement who has the right to revoke it? It is a clear case that the Doctrine of Impossibility is applicable here so do I need to go to the city and request they rescind the easement or do I need to take this to court and sue the people behind me for harassment (they have hired attorneys 3 different times and all I have gotten is threatening letters when I advised them of the Doctrine of impossibility and the fact that the persons behind me have been cited for trespassing and then tell them to take me to court or I would see them in court the letters stop).
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank You

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    176

    Default Re: Doctrine of Impossibility in Michigan

    From a quick read of the above I wonder why you would need the city to revoke the easement. When the city vacated the easement and provided the four owners their rights they are out of it. Seems you have a good handle on it. Ingress and egress is not parking. You might want to see if you can sue for harassment. Others on this board will likely offer up some better ideas. Good luck and keep us informed.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Ohio
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    2,576

    Default Re: Doctrine of Impossibility in Michigan

    The city granted the easement who has the right to revoke it?
    I would doubt that the city has any right to revoke the easement. Your problem is not the easement, it is the neighbor overburdening the easement and probably trespassing on your property. An ingress egress easement is for that purpose only unless enlarged by the language of the grant to be something more than that.

    Have you attorney look at the original grant of easement and give you an opinion. If it appears that there is overburdening or trespassing, ask your attorney to write a letter to the offending parties demanding compliance with the easement terms. Have it cc'd to the local police or sheriff so they will be on notice. If you do not get compliance, you have other options.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    38,867

    Default Re: Doctrine of Impossibility in Michigan

    the only entity that would have the right and power to revoke an easement would be the courts. I see no reason for them to revoke the easement in this situation.

    The problem is, obviously, what the neighbors may have done to the easement. You say they added onto their building. Is their building encroaching onto the easement? If that itself is causing you problems, you need to address that. If it is not actually on the easement and only the excavation is the causing the problem of use (other than the vehicles and equipment blocking it), then the neighbors have altered the easement. First thing you need to do is send a letter (certified and all that jazz) demanding they not block the easement, If they do not change their parking habits, you have little choice other than to go to court to seek the courts direction to the neighbors that they clear the easement and keep it that way.

    I also am wondering about your claims that they are parking on your property. Are they parking actually on your property or are you speaking only of the easement. If it is the easement, that is not your property. It is still the city's property and you will need to address it through the courts, unless the neighbors will listen to you. (yep, I bet that ain't gonna happen)

    If they are parking actually on your property, you have an entirely different problem. They are trespassing. The police should be called. The police may claim it is a civil matter and they cannot do anything. This is not uncommon in situations where there is a question of where the property line is. The thing though, in Michigan is, trespassing is a crime and the police should not blow you off on this unless there is an honest dispute of property lines.

    There may actually be 2 laws here that are being broken:

    750.552 Trespass upon lands or premises of another; violation; penalty.
    Sec. 552. (1) A person shall not do any of the following:
    (a) Enter the lands or premises of another without lawful authority after having been forbidden so to do by
    the owner or occupant or the agent of the owner or occupant.
    (b) Remain without lawful authority on the land or premises of another after being notified to depart by the
    owner or occupant or the agent of the owner or occupant.
    (c) Enter or remain without lawful authority on fenced or posted farm property of another person without
    the consent of the owner or his or her lessee or agent. A request to leave the premises is not a necessary
    element for a violation of this subdivision. This subdivision does not apply to a person who is in the process
    of attempting, by the most direct route, to contact the owner or his or her lessee or agent to request consent.
    (2) A person who violates subsection (1) is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in the
    county jail for not more than 30 days or by a fine of not more than $250.00, or both.
    History: Add. 1951, Act 102, Imd. Eff. May 31, 1951;¾Am. 2007, Act 167, Eff. Mar. 20, 2008.
    750.552a Filth, garbage or refuse; unlawful to dump, deposit or place on property of another.
    Sec. 552a. Any person who shall dump, deposit or place any filth, garbage or refuse on the grounds or
    premises of another, without the specific permission of the owner thereof, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
    History: Add. 1954, Act 27, Imd. Eff. Mar. 31, 1954.
    I do not know if the second section is applicable but I am using my imagination a bit to think of what may be being placed on your property.

    Take note that in the first section quoted, you must give notification for the trespass to be illegal. Verbal would suffice but a letter is better.

    the other thing of concern is the "12 foot drop off". If the folks have altered the easement itself, they have committed waste to property of which they have no right to alter. As such, you have the same options as with the overburdening of the easement.

    One other question: is the easement 20 feet in width or is each side of the alley provided with 10 feet? That could alter my advice a bit. I wrote this with the thought that it is simply a 20 foot wide easement for all to use.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Michigan
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    4

    Default Re: Doctrine of Impossibility in Michigan

    The easement is a 10' either side of a property line the alley was abandoned by the city and the property was turned over to the land owners there are 4 lots next to the street of which 10 foot of each of the property was the alley, to explain the lots were 100 feet deep now they are surveyed at 110 feet on all sides of the easement. The first 4 lots are no issue the alley is intact there but when you get to where my lovely neighbors are the 10 foot of alley which once existed is gone and a sheer drop-off is present. As for my issue they claim they need to be on my property (surveyed and deeded to me and taxed by the city as mine) to work on the back of their property. Their alteration of the alley is causing severe erosion of my side of the alley. Now it must be said that I am guaranteed by the same vacation notice usage on the 10 foot of alley they destroyed. As for my original question when the city vacated the alley they were the ones who granted the easement so would they not have the right to revoke it? And yes the neighbor has been cited by the police for trespass 3 times already to no avail small town $5 fine.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Doctrine of Impossibility in Michigan

    I understand the easement situation now. As such, you will have problems with the trespassing issue because they do have a 10 foot easement onto your property which pretty much removes any trespassing claim. I really do not see how they were even ticketed honestly. Obviously, if they go beyond the boundary of the easement, they are trespassing and should be called on it. If they damage your property outside of the easement, send them a bill for the repair.


    The first 4 lots are no issue the alley is intact there but when you get to where my lovely neighbors are the 10 foot of alley which once existed is gone and a sheer drop-off is present.
    if they damaged your easement, then you either get them to agree to repair it or you sue them and ask for a court order to require them to repair it or allow you to repair it and they pay for the repair.

    As for my issue they claim they need to be on my property (surveyed and deeded to me and taxed by the city as mine) to work on the back of their property.
    We are speaking of the their easement on your property, yes? If so, if they block the easement, you have a reasonable claim. If they are only using the easement to access part of their building, you most likely will lose that fight.

    Their alteration of the alley is causing severe erosion of my side of the alley.
    then either they agree to repair or you sue. Not much else you can do.

    Now it must be said that I am guaranteed by the same vacation notice usage on the 10 foot of alley they destroyed.
    Right and that is why you sue for the repair. You have no right to repair until/unless a court allows it or it is written within the easement grant.

    As for my original question when the city vacated the alley they were the ones who granted the easement so would they not have the right to revoke it?
    No. Once an easement is granted, only the grantee or the courts can remove an easement; of course unless the grantor wrote specific verbiage that would allow such an action by them (very unusual). At this time, the city has nothing to do with this situation and they have no rights to revoke, alter, or control the easement, based on what you have written here. It is between the 2 property owners and the courts.

    And yes the neighbor has been cited by the police for trespass 3 times already to no avail small town $5 fine.
    I'm surprised they were cited at all.


    If they are actually trespassing, you file a complaint each and every time they trespass. Hopefully the courts will see their continuation of the illegal action and take more serious punitive actions eventually.

  7. #7
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    Jul 2009
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    Michigan
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    Default Re: Doctrine of Impossibility in Michigan

    The easement is ingress and egress only and clearly stated in the vacation notice they stop and park heavy equipment and vehicles behind their building and block my access to my barn. They were cited because they parked in the alley on my property and they cannot in any way turn off of the easement on to their property thus the doctrine of impossibility I feel is applicable thus negating any and all rights to the easement. The problem is making the morons behind me understand they have no rights so it sounds like court.

  8. #8
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Doctrine of Impossibility in Michigan

    Porschecllector;332121]The easement is ingress and egress only and clearly stated in the vacation notice they stop and park heavy equipment and vehicles behind their building and block my access to my barn
    . and I said if they were blocking your use of the easement, you have a valid complaint

    They were cited because they parked in the alley on my property
    if it was on the easement, it becomes a civil matter and realistically, if they were on the easement, they should not have been cited.

    and they cannot in any way turn off of the easement on to their property thus the doctrine of impossibility I feel is applicable thus negating any and all rights to the easement
    . I do not think you will win with this argument but do not discard this if you believe it applicable. You can include more than one justification for a suit should you end up in court.
    You have other valid points to argue as well.Be sure to include all of them.
    The problem is making the morons behind me understand they have no rights so it sounds like court.
    that's why they are there.

    go get 'em.

  9. #9
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    Jul 2009
    Location
    Michigan
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    Default Re: Doctrine of Impossibility in Michigan

    I guess the origional question was if they have an ingress and egress easement that they cannot physically use how can they use it at all?

  10. #10
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Doctrine of Impossibility in Michigan

    I understand your point. I was merely stating to not limit your cause of action to just that if you have other valid arguments as well. If your doctrine position is not accepted by the courts and that is all you included in your action, that is the end of the suit. You would have to refile with a different cause and multiple suits do not look good. It hints at harassment or malicious prosecution. Since they have been utilizing the services of an attorney, you do not want to give them any ammunition against you. If you include all justifications, it gets taken care of, one way or another, right then and there.

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