State ex rel. Wasserman v. City of Fremont

Stanley and Kathryn Wasserman are the successors in interest to an easement created in 1915 for the purpose of draining what is now their farmland over land now owned by the City of Freemont. After the City unilaterally replaced plastic drainage tiles across the easement with a single drainage pipe and rerouted the drainage pathway, the Wassermans sued in mandamus, alleging an unconstitutional taking. The court of appeals concluded that the City violated the easement and that the Wassermans were entitled to a determination of whether a taking had actually occurred. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the express easement language gave the owner of the original servient estate the right to determine the lines by which the drainage system should run through the land, and as the current owner of the servient estate, the City retained the right to change the route of the drainage tile as long as it continued to drain the Wassermans’ land; and (2) under the facts of this case, the City did not violate the easement. View "State ex rel. Wasserman v. City of Fremont" on Justia Law