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Huff v. Cain

Court of Appeals of Indiana

March 11, 2019

William J. Huff, II Revocable Trust Declaration, and Nicole E. Huff Revocable Trust Declaration, Appellants-Defendants,
v.
Michael O. Cain and Linda A. Raymond, Appellees-Plaintiffs.

          Appeal from the Monroe Circuit Court The Honorable J. David Holt, Senior Judge Trial Court Cause No. 53C06-1804-PL-755

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANTS Thomas R. Malapit, Jr. Joshua A. Brown Ryan L. Groves Barry A. Hall McKinney & Malapit Law Muncie, Indiana

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEES Michael L. Carmin Carmin Parker, PC Bloomington, Indiana

          Kirsch, Judge.

         [¶1] William J. Huff, II Revocable Trust Declaration, Dated June 28, 2011 and Nicole E. Huff Revocable Trust Declaration, Dated June 28, 2011 (collectively, "the Huffs") appeal from the trial court's grant of a preliminary injunction in favor of Michael O. Cain and Linda A. Raymond (collectively, "Cain"). The Huffs present one issue on appeal, which we restate as: Whether the trial court abused its discretion when it issued a preliminary injunction enjoining the Huffs from using certain easements to cut and remove timber from their real estate.

         [¶2] We vacate and remand.

         Facts and Procedural History[1]

         [¶3] In 1990, Kenton L. Robinson ("Robinson") was the owner of real estate in Monroe County, Indiana. On March 12, 1990, Robinson granted an easement ("the Grant of Easement") to Terre Haute Real Estate Corporation ("THR"), the then owner of property adjacent to Robinson's property. Appellants' App. Vol. 2 at 53-56. Subsequently, Robinson conveyed his real estate, and it became The Shores subdivision ("The Shores"). Cain is the current owner of Lot 9 in The Shores and holds an undivided interest in certain common areas of The Shores, including an area known as the Common Nature Preserve. Tr. at 59-61. The Huffs are the current owners of the real estate adjacent to The Shores ("the Huff Real Estate"), previously owned by THR, and the successors in interest to the Grant of Easement.

         [¶4] The Grant of Easement contains three separate easements through The Shores. Easement No. 1 provides "a private, non-exclusive surface easement for ingress and egress over and along the roadway for The Shores as depicted in the plat thereof." Appellants' App. Vol. 2 at 29-30. Easement No. 1 is Shady Side Drive, the principal road serving The Shores and ending in a cul-de-sac on the south end of the subdivision. Tr. at 33.

         [¶5] Easement No. 2 provides "a fifty (50) feet wide private driveway easement over Lot 9 and the Common Nature Preserve of [T]he Shores . . . ." Appellants' App. Vol. 2 at 30. Easement No. 2 also provides in relevant part, "Grantee shall limit its use of the driveway easement for the construction and development of and use by not more than four of the six single family residences allocated to Grantee's real estate . . . ." Id. Easement No. 2 further provides, "Grantee covenants to maintain the driveway easement in a sightly manner, at the expense of Grantee or its assigns." Id.

         [¶6] Easement No. 3 provides "a fifty (50) feet wide private driveway easement extending from the south end of the roadway within The Shores . . . and over Lot 1 and the Common Nature Preserve near the west property line of The Shores . . . and as more particularly described in Exhibit C . . . ." Id. at 31. Easement No. 3 is an ingress and egress easement over Lot 1 and part of the Common Nature Preserve and connects The Shores to a part of the Huffs Real Estate. Id. at 12. Easement No. 3 also provides in relevant part, "Grantee's use of this Easement No. 3 shall be limited to construction and development of and use by not more than three of the six single family residences allocated to Grantee's real estate . . . ." Id. at 31. Similar to Easement No. 2, Easement No. 3 provided, "Grantee covenants to maintain the driveway easement in a sightly manner, at the expense of Grantee or its assigns." Id.

         [¶7] The General Conditions portion of the Grant of Easement further provides in relevant part as follows:

1. The grant of driveway easement and surface easements as described hereinabove includes such access by Grantee, its invitees or licensees as is necessary from time to time to repair, restore, maintain or replace water lines or sewer lines or other utilities located within the described easement and to repair, maintain or improve the driveways.
2. Grantee covenants to limit use of the easements above described, for the construction, development and use by Grantee and its grantees and assigns of six (6) single family residential structures, each of which may include guest and caretaker quarters and other buildings attendant thereto, to be located on Grantee's real estate described in Exhibit A and as more particularly described above.
3. The Shores Homeowners Association, Inc. and its members shall have the right to enforce the within covenants and restrictions by court injunction ...

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