Appeal No. 123,823: Dennis D. Pyle and Jennifer J. Pyle v. James N. Gall Jr., Individually and as Trustee of the James N. Gall Family Trust
Appeal No. 123,823 archived oral argumentThe Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Court of Appeals and affirmed the judgment of the Brown County District Court finding the Pyles acquired a prescriptive easement across a portion of the Galls' land. On review, the Supreme Court concluded the Court of Appeals applied an incorrect test for exclusive use. The Supreme Court clarified that, while both the doctrine of prescriptive easements and the doctrine of adverse possession require exclusive use, the test for exclusivity in prescriptive easement claims is critically different from the test for exclusivity in adverse possession claims. An individual asserting a prescriptive easement exclusively uses a purported prescriptive easement if the landowner fails to prevent them from using the land for the prescriptor's particular purpose. Using the correct test for exclusivity, the Supreme Court held the Pyles acquired a prescriptive easement over the property in question. The Supreme Court also held the Court of Appeals did not erroneously substitute its findings of fact for those of the district court. Finally, the Supreme Court did not consider whether the Pyles sufficiently showed their use of the Galls' land was adverse because the Galls failed to preserve that issue for review.