770 N.W.2d 749 (Wis.App. 2009), 2008AP2028, Grygiel v. Monches Fish & Game Club, Inc.
|Citation:||770 N.W.2d 749, 2009 WI App 102|
|Opinion Judge:||SNYDER, J.|
|Party Name:||Barbara C. GRYGIEL and Janet M. Nahorn, Plaintiffs-Appellants[|
|Attorney:||On behalf of the plaintiffs-appellants, the cause was submitted on the briefs of John A. Rothstein of Quarles & Brady, LLP, Milwaukee. On behalf of the defendant-respondent, the cause was submitted on the brief of Lance S. Grady of Grady, Hayes & Neary, LLC, Waukesha.|
|Judge Panel:||Before BROWN, C.J., SNYDER and NEUBAUER, JJ.|
|Case Date:||June 10, 2009|
|Court:||Court of Appeals of Wisconsin|
Submitted on Briefs March 5, 2009.
¶ 1 Barbara C. Grygiel and Janet M. Nahorn (together, Grygiel) appeal from an order for a summary judgment dismissing their claims against Karl J. Scheife and Monches Fish & Game Club, Inc. (the Club).1 Grygiel asserts that the circuit court's interpretation of the law of easements impermissibly expanded the scope and purpose of the easement that provides access over Grygiel's property to the Club's land. We disagree and affirm the order of the circuit court.2
¶ 2 Grygiel's land in Washington county consists of thirty-two acres and meets at one corner with 120 acres owned by the Club. The Club benefits from an easement across Grygiel's property; specifically, the easement is a forty-foot-wide strip of land granted " for the purpose of ingress and egress as a means of access" to the Club's property. In 1990, the Club filed a lawsuit seeking a determination of rights under the written easement. In February 1991, the circuit court issued a decision, holding as follows:
(1) [The Club] has an easement for ingress and egress to their property over the described 40 foot parcel per the original easement, but has no other interest in the parcel.
(2) [The Club] may not allow parking of vehicles on the easement.
(3) Vehicles may turn around on the easement providing they do not go off the 40 foot easement.
(4) The easement may be used by members of [the Club], its invitees, service vehicles, and emergency vehicles.
(5) [The Club] may not extend the use of the easement to any other parties than those named in the preceding paragraph.
(6) [The Club] may improve its roadway upon the parcel described in the easement but the improvements shall only be for purposes of ingress and egress.
In its rationale, the circuit court stated that the Club " cannot grant the right to use this easement as a means of gaining access to other properties by parties who are not using [the Club's] property." The court stated that the Club " has no right to grant use of the easement to some farmer who is not going onto [the Club's] lands for
any purpose but simply using the easement to get to his own property." 3
¶ 3 In November 2006, Scheife and several others were hunting on a forty acre parcel adjacent to the Club's property. This forty acre parcel, along with an additional 103 acres to the south, is owned by the Unrein family. Scheife rents a home on the Unrein property, and his lease gives him hunting privileges on all of the Unrein land. He is also a member of the Club and hunts there about twelve times a year.
¶ 4 On November 24, 2006, Scheife and several other hunters used the easement to get to the Club and, from the Club's property, they crossed to hunt on the adjacent Unrein land. It is undisputed that some of the hunters with Scheife were not members of the Club. It is also undisputed that the hunters did not hunt on Club property that morning, but rather parked at the Club and went over onto Unrein property to hunt. Afterward, they went to Scheife's home and a member of the hunting party drove Scheife off of Unrein property and back around to the easement, with the intention of crossing the easement to retrieve Scheife's truck from the Club's property. When they approached, they saw that Grygiel had blocked their path across the easement. Grygiel then called the sheriff's department and a deputy arrived shortly thereafter. Scheife then retrieved his car from the Club.
¶ 5 Grygiel sued the Club and Scheife for violation of the 1991 judgment, trespass, and breach of the easement contract. Grygiel moved for partial summary judgment, seeking a declaration that (1) the 1991 judgment was binding on the parties, (2) the Club did not have the right to grant use of the easement to third parties who sought access to property other than the Club's, and (3) the Club members themselves could not use the easement to access any property other than the Club's. The court heard arguments on the motion and, in a decision filed February 5, 2008, held that questions of fact precluded summary judgment.
¶ 6 On March 28, 2008, Grygiel filed a new motion for summary judgment, asserting that no material facts were in dispute and seeking judgment as a matter of law. The circuit court held a hearing...
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