Malden Farms and Nicholson were neighbours on Lake Erie. The predecessors in title of Malden Farms had granted the Nicholson's predecessors in title an easement for "free uninterrupted right-of-way" across a 20-foot strip of land on their property. Now, the Nicholsons have opened a resort business on their property and the right-of way is being used constantly and people are spreading out over Malden Farms' lands. The burden of the easement has been markedly increased. Malden Farms is suing to have this right revoked. They were successful at trial, which Nicholson appealed.
- What happens when an easement is taken advantage of and used for purposes other than originally intended?
Appeal dismissed, the rights are restricted to the original intention of the easement.
Aylesworth, delivering the judgement of the court, says that it is clear that the present use is much beyond the extent of the legal rights that were given and must be restrained. When considering what is a "reasonable use" of the easement land you must take into consideration the circumstances of the case, the situation of the parties and the situation of the land at the time the grant was made.
- If the use of an easement develops far beyond the original intent, then the right can be restrained to place it in line with the original intentions.
- When deciding if a use is reasonable the courts will consider the circumstances of the case, including the situation of the parties and land at the time the easement was granted, and decide if the current use corresponds to these factors.