The appeals court in Oregon recently issued a decision in a land-use case brought by a plaintiff who was the tenant of a piece of property. The original trial court dismissed the case, and the appeals court agreed that the trial court was right that the plaintiff did not have a right to seek an injunction.
The case was originally filed by a plaintiff who claimed a private prescriptive easement. The easement was being claimed over a piece of commercial property that neighbored the property the plaintiff had tenancy over. In the original complaint, the plaintiff claimed that the defendants had interfered with the easement.
The plaintiff stated that the interference caused economic issues and the plaintiff was seeking compensation for those damages. The plaintiff also wanted an injunction to prevent further interference with the easement.
The appeals court sided with the trial court, stating that the plaintiff did not actually have the ability to assert a right to an easement. In this case, since the plaintiff was the tenant and not the property owner, the complaint was not valid. The easement right had to be asserted by the landowner.
Ultimately, the appeals court decided that the trial court made no error in dismissing the plaintiff's claim. In deciding to appeal any type of litigation, plaintiffs and defendants must both understand the exact laws and how courts might interpret those laws. Appealing a case is very often an option, but understanding when there is a chance of the appeals court making a different decision can help you spend time appealing only cases that have any chance of success.
Source: Court of Appeals Media Release, "7455 Incorporated v. Tuala Northwest, LLC," Nov. 12, 2015