Defendant’s predecessor granted plaintiff’s predecessor an easement providing the grantee with access, ingress, and egress to vehicles and pedestrians over a ten-foot wide strip of defendant’s property. Though the attorney who drafted the grant of easement testified he intended only to allow occasional use for gardening or other limited purposes, the grant of easement contained no express language so stating. This decision holds that an easement for ingress and egress over a specific strip of property is sufficiently definite so that the rule of Winslow v. City of Vallejo (1906) 148 Cal. 723, 725 does not apply and the easement is not limited to its historic use, but rather may be used in any reasonable manner including for future developments that may increase use of the easement without unduly burdening it. Furthermore, since plaintiff was a bona fide purchaser of the dominant tenement without any notice of restrictions on the appurtenant easement, he can rely on the language of the grant of easement and is not limited by historical usage patterns or parol understandings of the original parties. Since the easement was not ambiguous, it was also an error to rely on extrinsic evidence to impose a restriction on the easement of which the grant’s words were not reasonably susceptible.
California Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 6 (Yegan, Acting P.J.); November 29, 2018; 29 Cal. App. 5th 630