Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fourth District, Scioto
Kevin Blume, The Blume Law Firm, Wheelersburg, Ohio, for
R. Dever, Bannon, Howland & Dever Co., L.P.A.,
Portsmouth, Ohio, for Appellees.
DECISION AND JUDGMENT ENTRY
Glenn and Donita Eskridge appeal from the trial court's
judgment finding that Appellees, Gordan and Sandra Blanton,
had established an easement of necessity over a portion of
the land owned by the Eskridges. The Blanton and Eskridge
properties are adjacent to one another and are bordered on
the west by State Route 52. The property currently owned by
the Blantons became landlocked in the 1960's when the
State of Ohio appropriated approximately eight acres from the
Blantons' predecessors in interest and built a new
limited access highway. On appeal, Appellants contend the
trial court erred in finding that Appellees had established
an easement by necessity over their real property. Because we
conclude that Appellees failed to prove all of the required
elements necessary to establish an easement of necessity,
Appellants' sole assignment of error is sustained.
Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is reversed.
Appellees, Gordan and Sandra Blanton, filed an amended
complaint on December 9, 2015 claiming easements by both
prescription and necessity over a portion of land owned by
Appellants, Glenn and Donita Eskridge. Appellees and
Appellants have property adjacent to one another and both of
their properties border on the west what is now U.S. Route
52, which is a limited access highway that was constructed by
the State of Ohio in 1962. At the time the limited access
highway was constructed, Appellees' property was owned by
Roy and Lula Ison. The record indicates that the State of
Ohio commenced appropriation proceedings against the Isons
and ultimately took approximately eight acres of their
property for the construction of the limited access highway.
The Isons were compensated approximately $2, 000.00 for the
land taken, and were compensated an additional $12, 900.00
for damage to the residue of their property.
the property was transferred to Orville and Glenna Ison, who
sold the property to Appellees on December 2, 2011.
Less than a year after Appellees purchased the property,
Appellants, through counsel, sent Appellees a cease and
desist letter, ordering Appellees to cease entering their
property through Appellants' property. The record
reflects Appellees had been entering their property through a
strip of land on the western border of Appellants'
property which runs parallel to the limited access highway.
It is this strip of land which Appellees claim they have an
easement, and which they contend consists of an old roadbed
historically used by their predecessors in interest to access
The matter was tried to the court on July 22 and September 7,
2016. Appellee Gordan Blanton testified, along with other
residents of the area, including Bill Waddell and Kenny Dyer.
Appellee's brother Bob Blanton also testified. Most of
the testimony that was offered related to the alleged
existence of an old roadway Appellees claimed ran over
Appellants' property. The witnesses all also testified
that the only way to access Appellees' property was to
cross Appellants' property. Appellants presented
witnesses as well, including Appellant Glenn Eskridge and
licensed surveyor, Loren Purdom. Appellants introduced
testimony and exhibits through Mr. Purdom indicating that the
alleged roadway claimed to exist by Appellees over
Appellants' property does not exist and never existed
according to various maps and aerial photos ranging from 1930
to 2011, and that the only access to Appellees' property
was taken by the State of Ohio during construction of the
limited access highway in 1962. Appellants also introduced
testimony related to an easement they recently granted to
Scioto Water, Inc., to install a water line in the area in
which Appellees' claim their easement is located.
In their post-trial brief filed with the trial court,
Appellees abandoned their argument that they had established
a prescriptive easement and instead only claimed they had
established an easement of necessity over the land of
Appellants, by virtue of their landlocked status. The trial
court ultimately agreed with Appellees, and granted judgment
in favor of Appellees. In its entry, the trial court found as
"The Court finds it's necessary that there be an
easement of necessity over the land owned by the Eskridges.
When Mr. Eskridge bought his land, it was reasonably
foreseeable that there would be some access across his land
for ingress and egress."
from this order that Appellants now bring their timely
appeal, setting forth one assignment of error for our review.
ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR
"I. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE
BLANTON'S [SIC] HAD ESTABLISHED AN EASEMENT BY NECESSITY
OVER THE ...