Successful Trial Results in Mendocino County Easement Case

Toward the end of 2017 Janssen Malloy LLP attorney David Nims represented a longtime client of the firm in Mendocino County Superior Court in a civil case. Recently, Judge Jeanine Nadel issued the decision of the court in favor of the client, the owner of a significant amount of timberland in Humboldt and Mendocino Counties.
The case was brought by a land speculator from the Sacramento area, who purchased an undeveloped 23-acre parcel in rural northern Mendocino County, just south of the Humboldt County border, at a tax auction sale. Unfortunately, the eventual plaintiff in the case failed to diligently research whether the parcel had a legal right of access over private logging roads to the County road. When the plaintiff’s efforts to obtain a deeded right of access over approximately three-plus miles of privately developed and maintained roads from Janssen Malloy LLP’s client and another timberland owner in the same area by threats and other underhanded tactics failed, the plaintiff sued, claiming a variety of legal and equitable theories for the existence of an easement.
Judge Nadel was unequivocal in deciding that each of the plaintiff’s claims had no merit, and therefore that both Janssen Malloy LLP’s client and the other defendant in the case were in the right. According to the testimony of the client’s principal, a contrary result could have resulted in diminution of its adjacent property’s value by as much $1,000,000. Key portions of the Court’s statement of decision closely tracked the post-trial briefs submitted by both of the defendants in the case.
Janssen Malloy LLP would like to thank: Thomas Blair of Blair Forestry Consulting, Kerry Perkett of KP Title Solutions, and Ray Wilcox of G.R. Wilcox Enterprises, each of whom testified at trial; attorney Brian Momsen of the Ukiah law firm Carter Momsen, PC, which represented the other defendant landowner in the case; and of course, the client for entrusting our firm with the responsibility of taking this case to and through trial.