Question of Fact Re: the “Hostility” Element of a Prescriptive Easement
In finding that the prescriptive easement cause of action should not have been dismissed, the Third Department explained the proof requirements:
A party claiming a prescriptive easement must show, by clear and convincing evidence, that the use of the easement was open, notorious, hostile and continuous for a period of 10 years … . Although the element of hostility is presumed upon a showing of the other elements, where “the relationship between the parties is one of neighborly cooperation and accommodation,” no such presumption arises and, rather, permission will be inferred … . “Generally, the question of implied permission is one for the factfinder to resolve” … .
Here, the evidence submitted on the summary judgment motions indicates that a neighborly relationship existed between plaintiff, individually, the Trust’s tenants and defendants’ predecessors in title. However, inasmuch as there is no evidence of express permission granted to use defendants’ property, and the relevant parties are not “related by blood or part of a select group of friends,” summary judgment dismissing the claim for a prescriptive easement on the ground that plaintiff was unable to establish hostility was not warranted … . Gulati v O’Leary, 2015 NY Slip Op 01693, 3rd Dept 2-26-15