Lazzerin v. Haiko
A plaintiff may obtain easement rights through adverse use, if the use is continuous for 15 years, open and under a claim of right. Allegedly, the defendant, Sandra Haiko, placed a lock on a gate on Old Monson Road in Stafford, and the plaintiff, Kevin Lazzerin, was unable to obtain access from his landlocked parcel of property to any highway. The plaintiff also alleged that the defendant trespassed, cut trees and left logs. The plaintiff alleged that there was an easement and that the defendant trespassed and damaged his property. Connecticut General Statutes §47-37 provides, "No person may acquire a right-of-way or any other easement from, in, upon or over the land of another, by the adverse use or enjoyment thereof, unless the use has been continued uninterrupted for fifteen years." The court found that the plaintiff's 12-acre property has been in his family since the 1930s. A municipal road that once ran along the southern boundary and that connected to a public highway was abandoned. The plaintiff's uncle testified that the plaintiff's father and grandfather constructed another road across the property of the defendant's predecessor, and members of both families shared the use of the road and possessed keys to a lock on the gate until 1977, which was more than 15 years. The plaintiff proved, by a preponderance of the evidence, the elements of a prescriptive easement to use the private road. The court enjoined the defendant from obstructing the plaintiff's use of the private road and ordered the defendant to provide a key to the gate. The plaintiff failed to prove that the defendant trespassed on the plaintiff's property, and the court granted judgment to the defendant on the trespass count.