Monthly Archives: December 2013

Garbage Easements- really!

Rye v. Tahoe Truckee

This is not a terribly exciting case, but I occasionally make use of the services offered by the Tahoe Truckee Sierra Disposal Company.

Rye involved a parking easement for garbage trucks that dated back to a 1981 land swap.  The Ryes purchased the property burdened by the easement in 2004.

The garbage company only used a portion of the easement, but wanted to pave the entire area when the Ryes’ predecessor went out of business and no longer used the remaining area of the easement.  The Ryes, however, wanted to restrict the garbage company to its historical use.

The court agreed with the Ryes.  Where an easement is nonexclusive and not clear regarding the scope of use, the historical use can and will govern.

Easements- conflicts between neighbors

Dolnikov v. Ekizian

Dolnikov v. Ekizian allows an owner of a driveway easement to construct a retaining wall and grade a driveway.  The owner of the land that crossed the easement was not happy and would not cooperate by signing off on the permits.

The important legal issue is that an owner of land subject to an easement can interfere with the use of an easement without actually blocking the right of way.

The truly important issue is that these two neighbors have been litigating this dispute since September 2004.  This is going to be their tenth Christmas as litigants.  All litigators, myself included, have an interest in maintaining lawsuits, but neighbors have to be neighbors long after the attorneys deliver their final bill for legal services.


Treatment of debt relief in a short sale.

This is a big deal.

IRS and California Franchise Tax Board declare California distressed home sellers not liable for federal or state income tax on short sales.

It is not clear whether all debt secured by a residence will be treated the same, since some secured debt is a recourse obligation, but this decision provides some comfort for people dealing with the emotional upheaval of overwhelming debt and the loss of a home.