Facts: An owner held an easement over their neighbor’s property which allowed the owner access to their landlocked property. A public road was later constructed giving the owner access to their property. The neighbor planned to develop the property on which the easement lay. The owner refused to abandon their easement rights.
Claim: The neighbor sought to partially extinguish the easement by reducing its size, claiming the owner has no reasonable need for the easement since the new public road provides access to the previously landlocked property.
Counterclaim: The owner sought to maintain the easement, claiming the easement may not be extinguished nor reduced even if it is no longer necessary.
Holding: A California court of appeals held an easement may not be extinguished by the owner of the burdened property when the easement is no longer necessary unless the owner of the benefitted property voluntarily abandons the easement. [Cottonwood Duplexes v. Barlow (2012) 210 CA4th 1501]