Thursday, February 17, 2011


The Arizona Court of Appeals says that when your neighbor is cheap you can sue him. Well, that is not exactly what the Court of Appeals ruled, but it is pretty close. In the case of Friedland v. Sorchych, which was decided just last month, the Arizona Court of Appeals was grappling with the dispute of two feuding neighbors. The subject of their dispute was a private road that serves both of neighbors’ parcels of land.

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In this case, the road came in the form of an easement, which is defined as the right to use another’s land.  At some point, the parties made a verbal agreement that they should share the cost of maintaining the road.  However, the Defendant later refused to provide his share of the costs claiming the repairs were unnecessary and too expensive.  Therefore, the Plaintiff sued but lost the case. 

The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court ruling that “the doctrine of equitable contribution should be extended to remit one dominant tenant to require another dominant tenant to contribute to the necessary repair and maintenance of an easement that both tenants are using . . .”  “Consequently, [the parties] . . . have a shared obligation for the necessary maintenance and repair of the roadway.” 

In other words, if you and your neighbor share an easement and your neighbor will not help pay to maintain the easement, sue him for being cheap. There is no such thing as a free road.