This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Francis A. Remerowski,
Filed July 7, 1998
Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded
Toussaint, Chief Judge
Lincoln County District Court
File No. C796093
John D. Moritz, P.O. Box 76, Springfield, MN 56087 (for respondent)
John E. Mack, Mack & Daby P.L.L.P., 26 Main Street, P.O. Box 302, New
London, MN 56273 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Davies, Presiding Judge, Toussaint, Chief Judge, and
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
TOUSSAINT, Chief Judge
Appellant Daniel Lasnetski appeals the district court's denial of his
motion for a new trial wherein he challenged the grant of a permanent
injunction and award of damages in favor of respondent Francis Remerowski. We
affirm in part since we conclude that the district court did not err in finding
that (1) when respondent purchased the subject property in January 1983 he
obtained an express easement; (2) until appellant purchased the servient
property in 1991 respondent had unrestricted access to his property; and (3)
appellant unreasonably restricted respondent's use of the easement. We remand
for further findings on the location of the roadway easement. As the district
court erred, in ordering appellant to turn the well over to respondent, we
reverse in part.
D E C I S I O N
When a motion for a new trial is made following a court trial, we affirm the
decision "if the findings are reasonably supported by the evidence."
Parrish v. Peoples, 214 Minn. 589, 597, 9 N.W.2d 225, 229 (1943).
The decision to grant an injunction rests within the discretion of the district
court and will not be reversed unless, based on the entire record, we conclude
that discretion has been an abused. Cherne Indus., Inc. v. Grounds &
Assocs., Inc., 278 N.W.2d 81, 91 (Minn. 1979). To obtain an
injunction, the petitioner has the burden of proving that a legal remedy is
inadequate and that an injunction is "necessary to prevent great and
irreparable injury." Id. at 92. Injunctions are generally
granted only in cases where an interference with or obstruction of the easement
substantially changes or unreasonably interferes with the owner's use of its
easement. See, e.g., Giles v. Luker, 215 Minn.
256, 9 N.W.2d 716 (1943) (where owner of servient estate threatened to prevent
use of right-of-way by trucks, owner of easement was entitled to injunctive
Appellant asserts that because the easement agreement is so
nebulous that the location of respondent's roadway access cannot be defined,
the district court erred in enjoining him from obstructing the roadway. But to
create an easement, it is only necessary that the land subject to the easement
is identified and the parties express their intent to create the easement.
Ingelson v. Olson, 199 Minn. 422, 427, 272 N.W. 270, 274 (1937).
Here, there is a document evidencing the creation of a valid roadway easement,
and respondent has had unrestricted use of the roadway. We conclude that the
court did not abuse its discretion in enjoining appellants from further
obstruction of respondent's bargained-for access to his property. However,
because the easement does not include a metes and bounds description of the
roadway, we remand for an evidentiary hearing including, if called for, expert
opinion regarding the location of the roadway or, if necessary, determination
by the district court. See id. at 429, 272 N.W. at 274 (where
the description of an easement is indefinite or the parties cannot agree, the
court may determine the location).
Appellant also challenges the portion of the injunction requiring him
not to "obstruct [respondent] from water use as set out in the agreement or
shall at [appellant's] option turn over to the [respondent] the existing water
well." Because a property interest "should not be enlarged by legal
construction beyond the objects originally contemplated or expressly agreed
upon by the parties," we reverse the portion of the injunction that turns the
well over to respondent. Minneapolis Athletic Club v. Cohler,
287 Minn. 254, 258, 177 N.W.2d 786, 789-90 (1970)
Appellant also asserts that the district court overcompensated
respondent by awarding him damages for the cost of constructing an alternate
roadway. The district court based its award on its finding that appellant had
unreasonably restricted respondent's easement causing him to construct an
additional roadway "at a cost of $1,405.95 in addition to loss of planted crop
and cutting a portion of a farm field into two pieces." The district court,
noting that the easement was part of a "bargained-for contract," appropriately
awarded damages for breach of contract, that is, money sufficient to place
respondent in the same situation as if the contract had been performed.
Peters v. Mutual Ben. Life Ins. Co., 420 N.W.2d 908, 915 (Minn.
App. 1988); see also 28A C.J.S. Easements § 208
(1996) (damages may be awarded for interference with or obstruction of an
easement where an injunction has been granted). Moreover, we conclude that
appellant's argument that the issue of damages was not before the district
court is not supported by the recorded. See Minn. R. Civ. P.
15.02 ("When issues not raised by the pleadings are tried by express or implied
consent of the parties, they shall be treated in all respects as if they had
been raised in the pleadings.").
Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.