Beck v. Mangels, No. 1222

CourtCourt of Special Appeals of Maryland
Writing for the CourtCATHELL; Charles C. Marbury
Citation640 A.2d 236,100 Md.App. 144
Decision Date01 September 1993
Docket NumberNo. 1222
PartiesWilliam S. BECK et al. v. Roger N. MANGELS et al. ,

Page 144

100 Md.App. 144
640 A.2d 236
William S. BECK et al.
v.
Roger N. MANGELS et al.
No. 1222, Sept. Term, 1993.
Court of Special Appeals of Maryland.
April 28, 1994.

[640 A.2d 237]

Page 147

Elise Davis, Chestertown, for appellants.

R. Stewart Barroll (Hoon & Barroll, Chestertown, Robert R. Kern, Jr. and Gallagher, Evelius & Jones, Baltimore, on the brief), for appellees.

[640 A.2d 238] Argued before BLOOM, CATHELL and MURPHY, JJ.

CATHELL, Judge.

Appellees, Roger N. Mangels and Alice B. Mangels (Mangels), filed a complaint for declaratory relief in the Circuit Court for Kent County, asking the court to declare that, as dominant tenants, they possessed an easement over and through the property of the servient tenants, appellants, William S. Beck and Pauline G. Hand 1 (Beck). The trial court found that an easement of necessity had been created in 1931, that it was not extinguished by a subsequent conveyance of additional property to Mangels's predecessor in title, that the parties had consented by acquiescence to a relocation of the way in 1948, and that the present right-of-way should be a total of fifteen feet in width. Appellant poses eleven questions in the form that follows:

1. Will this Appellate Court overturn at least 125 years of law in this State concerning easements by necessity by affirming the trial court's decision?

2. Was it reversible error for the trial court to utilize criteria applicable to prescriptive easements rather than easements by necessity in this case, if in fact an easement by necessity existed?

Page 148

3. Was it reversible error for the trial court to enlarge an undisputed eight (8) foot wide road to a greater width?

4. Was it reversible error for the trial court to permit the Appellees to place macadam or concrete along the road when it had never been so improved in the past?

5. Was it reversible error for the trial court to provide for a road that would permit vehicles larger than those in existence in 1931 to service Appellees' property?

6. Was it reversible error for the trial court to not make findings of fact as to what permission, if any, was given to the Appellees by the Appellants; whether the Appellee stated to the witnesses Shivery and Wilson at the time of the sale that the Appellee knew he had no right of way, except by permission; and whether or not the witnesses, Bramble and Shivery, heard the Appellee request permission to use the said lane shortly after the sale?

7. Was it reversible error for the trial court to fail to state the evidence it relied on in rendering the opinion as to the size of the trees in 1931?

8. Was it reversible error for the trial court to fail to interpret the meaning of the language in the second 1931 deed "extending from the land of Martenet to the public road"?

9. Was it reversible error for the trial court to fail to state the evidence it relied on in determining that Martenet began using the Beck lane in 1947/48, particularly in light of the testimony of Bramble, Beck, Shivery and Wilson?

10. Was it reversible error for the trial court to fail to state the evidence the court relied on in making a finding that Beck and Hand agreed to transfer the servitude from the Bramble property to the Beck/Hand property and when it occurred?

11. Was it reversible error for the trial court to fail to state what evidence it relied on in determining that the "construction of a road would have been extremely expensive in 1931"?

Page 149

With respect to questions 6, 7, 9, 10, and 11, Beck objects to what he perceives to be the trial court's failure to state in its opinion the evidence it relied on to support its findings, not that the findings are wrong. In question 8, Beck asks whether it was reversible error for the trial court to "fail to interpret" certain language when it rendered its opinion. Neither in his brief, nor at oral argument, did Beck offer any substantial argument supporting his position on these specific questions. Md.Rule 8-504(a)(5) requires a party to present "argument in support of the party's position." See also Bond v. NIBCO, Inc., 96 Md.App. 127, 137, 623 A.2d 731 (1993); Monumental Life Ins. Co. v. United States Fidelity and Guar. Co., 94 Md.App.505,[640 A.2d 239] 544, 617 A.2d 1163, cert. denied, 330 Md. 319, 624 A.2d 491 (1993); Holiday Universal Club, Inc. v. Montgomery County, 67 Md.App. 568, 570 n. 1, 508 A.2d 991, cert. denied, 307 Md. 260, 513 A.2d 314, appeal dismissed, 479 U.S. 1049, 107 S.Ct. 920, 93 L.Ed.2d 973 (1986), and Federal Land Bank of Baltimore, Inc. v. Esham, 43 Md.App. 446, 457, 406 A.2d 928 (1979), where we said that the above "provisions are mandatory and, therefore, it is necessary for the appellant to present and argue all points of appeal in his initial brief.... [O]ur function is not to scour the record for error once a party notes an appeal and files a brief." (Emphasis added.) We further commented, "In prior cases where a party initially raised an issue but then failed to provide supporting argument, this Court has declined to consider the merits of the question so presented but not argued." Esham, 43 Md.App. at 457-58, 406 A.2d 928.

Accordingly, we shall not directly address the questions discussed above. We do note that many of the questions may be answered as we address those issues that were properly presented by appellants.

Likewise, we shall not respond to question 1, as it is an inappropriate question. Our function is to address the actions of the trial court in order to determine whether it erred. Should we err, the question can be presented to higher authority. We are thus left with four questions--2, 3, 4, and 5--to resolve directly. In order to address these questions, it

Page 150

is necessary to determine whether the trial court correctly found that a way by necessity existed in the first instance. We shall first discuss those facts we deem necessary to resolve the issues.

The Relevant Facts

In 1931, when both the dominant and servient estates in the case at bar were in unity of title, a common title predecessor to both appellants and appellees, Gale, conveyed from his tract of land formerly known as Gresham College a tract to appellees' predecessor in title, the Martenets. At that time, there was no explicit easement of access from the Martenet parcel over the remaining Gale parcel to the public road (Tolchester Road). The Martenets then used a way across a portion of the Gale land, in a northerly direction sometimes referred to by the trial court as the Martenet Branch, 2 to a road on the remaining Gale parcel referred to as "Gale lane" and then over "Gale lane" to access the public road.

Several months later, Gale conveyed to the Martenets a thirty foot wide strip of land along the irregular southern or western boundary of the original tract, running from the property originally conveyed to the public road. This second conveyance occurred on December 24, 1931. At the time of this second conveyance, no mention was made of the Martenets' rights concerning the use of the Martenet Extension and Gale lane. The thirty foot strip has never been improved and apparently during the time relevant to this case has been overgrown in a forest. It is composed in substantial part of wetlands.

In November of 1937, Gale conveyed a large tract of land to William A. Beck. The northerly property line of this Beck tract was parallel with and ten feet distant from the center line of Gale lane. This tract ran from the public road to the bay and separated the Martenet property along the Martenets'

Page 151

northerly property line from Gale lane and the balance of the Gale property. As to the Martenet Extension, if it was a way of necessity, the Beck tract was, even then, the servient estate with the Martenet tract being the dominant estate.

The remainder of the Gale property lying north of the Beck off-conveyance was conveyed to others and subsequently to David Bramble and is now called the Bramble tract. The present suit by the Mangelses (the Martenets' successors in title) does not claim any easement over the Bramble tract. Accordingly, we shall only address that tract from time to time as necessary.

Around 1948, Bramble's predecessor, Campbell, noticed that Gale lane was deteriorating. At that point, both Campbell and Beck were successors to the original servient estate. Gale lane was on the Campbell[640 A.2d 240] /Bramble property, and abutting the Beck property. Because Gale lane had deteriorated, Mr. Beck had a lane constructed abutting on his northerly property line and Gale lane. It was approximately fifteen feet south of the center line of Gale lane. 3 It was referred to below as the "Beck lane." We attach to our opinion as our Exhibit A a not to scale drawing of the locations of the various tracts indicating the approximate position of the various property lines, lanes, strips, and ways. We have prepared it from several exhibits attached to the trial court's opinion.

After Beck lane was constructed, the Martenets began to use it for ingress and egress to their property. When the Mangelses inspected the property prior to its purchase in 1963, they utilized the Beck lane. The Mangelses have continued to use Beck lane and have incurred expenses in maintaining both the Martenet Extension and Beck lane since.

We shall address other relevant facts as we address the issues necessary to resolve this appeal.

Page 152

Declaratory Relief

In an action properly brought under the Declaratory Judgments Act, the court ordinarily must declare the rights of the parties in light of the issues raised.

Jennings v. Gov't Employees Ins. Co., 302 Md. 352, 355, 488 A.2d 166 (1985). In Robert T. Foley Co. v. Washington Suburban Sanitary Comm'n, 283 Md. 140, 155, 389 A.2d 350 (1978), a case in which the trial court failed to declare whether certain resolutions were valid, the Court of Appeals, quoting from its earlier case of Dart Drug Corp. v. Hechinger Co., 272 Md. 15, 29, ...

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79 practice notes
  • Beretta U.S.A. Corp. v. Santos, No. 1024
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • September 1, 1997
    ...not consider it here. Md. Rule 8-504; Federal Land Bank v. Esham, 43 Md.App. 446, 458-59, 406 A.2d 928 (1979); see also Beck v. Mangels, 100 Md.App. 144, 149, 640 A.2d 236 (1994), cert. dismissed, 337 Md. 580, 655 A.2d 370 (1995). Even if Beretta had argued in its opening brief that the Com......
  • Diallo v. State, No. 71 Sept.Term, 2008.
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • June 4, 2009
    ...not presented with particularity will not be considered on appeal." Klauenberg, 355 Md. at 552, 735 A.2d 1061. See also Beck v. Mangels, 100 Md.App. 144, 149, 640 A.2d 236 (1994) (explaining that we may decline to consider the merits of a question presented but not supported by substantial ......
  • Catler v. Arent Fox, LLP, Nos. 538
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • September 3, 2013
    ...include the following items in the order listed: (6) [a]rgument in support of the party's position on each issue.”); Beck v. Mangels, 100 Md.App. 144, 149, 640 A.2d 236 (1994). We conclude, as well, that appellants have waived one other purported claim. As noted supra, appellants take the p......
  • Kemp v. Nationstar Mortg. Ass'n, No. 2652, Sept. Term, 2018
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • October 1, 2020
    ..."[a]rgument in support of the party's position"); Klauenberg v. State , 355 Md. 528, 551–52, 735 A.2d 1061 (1999) ; Beck v. Mangels , 100 Md. App. 144, 149, 640 A.2d 236 (1994) ("[A]rguments not presented in a brief or not presented with particularity will not be considered on appeal."). Ev......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
80 cases
  • Beretta U.S.A. Corp. v. Santos, No. 1024
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • September 1, 1997
    ...not consider it here. Md. Rule 8-504; Federal Land Bank v. Esham, 43 Md.App. 446, 458-59, 406 A.2d 928 (1979); see also Beck v. Mangels, 100 Md.App. 144, 149, 640 A.2d 236 (1994), cert. dismissed, 337 Md. 580, 655 A.2d 370 (1995). Even if Beretta had argued in its opening brief that the Com......
  • Diallo v. State, No. 71 Sept.Term, 2008.
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • June 4, 2009
    ...not presented with particularity will not be considered on appeal." Klauenberg, 355 Md. at 552, 735 A.2d 1061. See also Beck v. Mangels, 100 Md.App. 144, 149, 640 A.2d 236 (1994) (explaining that we may decline to consider the merits of a question presented but not supported by substantial ......
  • Catler v. Arent Fox, LLP, Nos. 538
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • September 3, 2013
    ...include the following items in the order listed: (6) [a]rgument in support of the party's position on each issue.”); Beck v. Mangels, 100 Md.App. 144, 149, 640 A.2d 236 (1994). We conclude, as well, that appellants have waived one other purported claim. As noted supra, appellants take the p......
  • Kemp v. Nationstar Mortg. Ass'n, No. 2652, Sept. Term, 2018
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • October 1, 2020
    ..."[a]rgument in support of the party's position"); Klauenberg v. State , 355 Md. 528, 551–52, 735 A.2d 1061 (1999) ; Beck v. Mangels , 100 Md. App. 144, 149, 640 A.2d 236 (1994) ("[A]rguments not presented in a brief or not presented with particularity will not be considered on appeal."). Ev......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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