The Third Department, reversing (modifying) Supreme Court, determined there was a question of fact whether plaintiff was entitled to a prescriptive easement with respect to a septic system which encroached on defendant’s property:
Plaintiff represents in her complaint that the septic system was installed “[a]t least as early as the 1920s.” The septic system was ostensibly concealed until 1997, when plaintiff replaced part of the tank. Moreover, a June 2000 letter from defendants’ father, the prior owner of the property, to his attorney indicates that he was aware of a septic tank that had been installed too close to the well on plaintiff’s land … . Although the record is sparse on information concerning plaintiff’s septic tank, the first indication that defendants sought any information from plaintiff concerning permission for the installation of the septic tank came in September 2018. In this respect, there is evidence suggesting a triable issue of fact as to whether plaintiff can establish that the septic system was installed with defendants’ predecessors’ knowledge and hostile to their interests. Accordingly, we find that defendants are not entitled to judgment as a matter of law as to whether plaintiff can establish her cause of action for a prescriptive easement in relation to the presence of the septic tank … which will ultimately implicate whether or not the tank constitutes a trespass … . Sasscer v Vesey, 2022 NY Slip Op 07286, Third Dept 12-22-22
Practice Point: Here there was a question of fact whether the prior owner of defendant’s property was aware plaintiff’s installation of a septic system encroached on defendant’s land, giving rise to a prescriptive easement.