Rehl v Billetz (IN)

Summary: Mere failure to provide terms specifying non-exclusivity does not limit the ingress and egress to solely the grantees if other factors suggest the intention of the parties was to include more people in the use of the easement. 

Rehl v Billetz, 963 NE2d 1 (Ind. Ct. App., 2012).

Facts: Clyde and Marjorie Allmon (Allmon) owned a tract of land in Miami County, Indiana, and operated a campground on the northern part of the tract.  The Allmons sold the campground business and part of the tract to Robert and Joy Billetz (Billetz), including the part that included the campground (Billetz property), and retained two acres of land bordering County Road 200 N (Rehl property).  The Allmons granted an easement for ingress and egress to the Billetz property over the Rehl property. 

In February of 1998, Anthony and Bessie Rehl (Rehl) bought the Rehl property, subject to the easement, from the estate of Marjorie Allmon. 

In 2008, the Rehls filed a complaint seeking to extinguish the easement and alleging that the Billetzes’s campground business had increased, adding to the burden imposed by the original easement.  The superior court entered a judgment in favor of the Billetzes.  The Rhels appealed.

Holding: Affirmed.  The court of appeals rejected the Rhels’s argument that the lack of the term “non-exclusive” from the easement indicated that the easement was only for the ingress and egress of the owners and not for the persons other than the grantees.  In looking to the language of the grant to determine the intention of the parties, the court found that the words “is for ingress and egress to lands to the north of said 2 acre tract” implied that it was intended for more than just the grantees, particularly when taken with the fact that the Billetz property was used as a campground at the time the easement was granted. The court held that the superior court’s finding that the increased traffic did not create a greater burden was not clearly erroneous.

Opinion Year: 
By: ATG Underwriting Department | Posted on: Mon, 07/02/2012 - 3:09pm