Greve v. Caron

Citation206 N.W. 334,233 Mich. 261
Decision Date22 December 1925
Docket NumberNo. 47.,47.
PartiesGREVE v. CARON et al.
CourtSupreme Court of Michigan


Appeal from Circuit Court, Muskegon County, in Chancery; John Vanderwerp, Judge.

Suit by John F. Greve against Anna L. B. Caron and others. From an adverse decree, plaintiff appeals. Reversed and rendered.

Argued before McDONALD, C. J., and CLARK, BIRD, SHARPE, MOORE, STEERE, FELLOWS, and WIEST, JJ.George H. Cross, of Muskegon, for appellant.

Cross, Foote & Sessions, of Muskegon, for appellees.


Plaintiff claims there is a private alley at the rear of and appurtenant to his property and across the rear of defendant's property to Division street, in the village of Whitehall, and filed the bill herein to have it so decreed and interference with his enjoyment thereof enjoined. In the circuit the bill was dismissed, and the case is here by appeal.

Defendant Anna L. B. Caron owns a corner lot with a frontage of 53 feet on Colby street, and a depth of 80 feet along Division street, upon the north 60 feet of which there is a building, erected in 1876. Defendants William F. and Zora B. Bailey occupy this building as tenants, and it is proposed to build on the south 20 feet of the lot. In this opinion Anna L. B. Caron will be referred to as defendant. Plaintiff owns an inside lot fronting 27 feet on Colby street, and having a depth of 70 feet, upon which there is a building 21 feet wide and 60 feet in length, erected in 1873. Plaintiff's and defendant's lots are separated by a 3-foot strip of land, evidently overlooked in early transfers. The north 60 feet of defendant's property is a part of lot 1, block 15, of the village, and the south 20 feet thereof a part of lot 2 of the same block. The north 60 feet of plaintiff's property is also a part of lot 1, and the south 10 feet a part of lot 2. In 1875, the owners of lots 1 and 2 commenced subdividing, and sold, by metes and bounds, to a predecessor of plaintiff, the premises now owned by plaintiff, ‘together with the right of an alley in the rear.’ The alley so granted, to be of use to the purchaser, had to run back of plaintiff's premises and then west 56 feet, across the rear 10 feet of defendant's premises, to Division street. This purpose was also manifested by one of the same grantors in 1878 (and then the owner of lot 2, except the 10 feet thereof at the rear of plaintiff's lot), deeding the south 40 feet of lot 2 to Lucy Goodrich, ‘with a right of way for an alley 10 feet wide upon the land adjoining thereof on the north side, the said alley to extend along the whole line of the north line of said land.’ This designated an alley 10 feet wide immediately at the rear of plaintiff's premises and across the south 10 feet of the land now owned by defendant.

Counsel for defendants contend that the words ‘together with the right of an alley in the rear’, are too indefinite to create an easement by grant, citing Fox v. Pierce, 50 Mich. 500, 15 N. W. 880. While it is true that equity will not interfere to protect an unlocated or indefinite right of way, especially one claimed by prescription, the rule, of course, admits of exceptions, and, in case the way is by grant, and the terms thereof locate the same by clear intendment, equity will not be so blind as to fail to recognize the evident and necessary designation of the way. This way is capable of determinate location under a common sense view of the grant and the situation of the dominant and servient estates at the time of the creation of the easement. It would evidence want of perception of the obvious to hold that the grant of ‘right of an alley in the rear’ was one limited to the lines of the premises sold and afforded no access to the street.

In McConnell v. Rathbun, 46 Mich. 303, 9 N. W. 426, there was a grant in a deed of ‘the right of way of an alley 10 feet wide on the rear end of said 82 feet.’ There the claim was made ‘that the grant is of the use of an alley whose length was to be measured by the width of the lot conveyed.’ This court stated:

‘But all grants must be construed reasonably, and in the light of the surrounding circumstances. The easement granted was ‘a right of way of an alley’; and this ex vi termini implies, we think, a passageway leading away from the land conveyed. It would be a misnomer to call a mere open space ten feet wide in the rear of this land, shut in on all other sides by lands over which the grantee had no right to pass, either a right of way or an alley. It might be a convenient space to use for some purposes, but certainly not for a right of way.'

Counsel for defendants contend that plaintiff did not acquire the way because such easement is neither mentioned nor conveyed in the deed by which he holds title to the land, nor in the deeds of his immediate predecessors. Specific mention of the easement appears in the several mesne conveyances up to 1910, and after that omitted. The easement as an incorporeal hereditament passed to each...

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22 cases
  • Beach v. Lima Twp.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Michigan — District of US
    • April 21, 2009
    ..."would not constitute an obstruction to the way or result in the loss of the way by ouster or adverse possession." Greve v. Caron, [233 Mich. 261, 266, 206 N.W. 334 (1925)]. Strictly construing the evidence supporting the claim of adverse possession, as we must . . ., we find that the recor......
  • Ingelson v. Olson
    • United States
    • Minnesota Supreme Court
    • March 19, 1937
    ...261, 261 S.W. 645;U. S. v. Van Horn (D.C.) 197 F. 611, 616;Douglas v. Jordan, 232 Mich. 283, 205 N.W. 52, 41 A.L.R. 1437;Greve v. Caron, 233 Mich. 261, 206 N.W. 334;Burgas v. Stoutz, 174 La. 586, 141 So. 67;Pacific Gas & Electric Co. v. Crockett, etc., Co., 70 Cal.App. 283, 292-294, 233 P. ......
  • Ingelson v. Olson
    • United States
    • Minnesota Supreme Court
    • March 19, 1937
    ...261 S.W. 645; U. S. v. Van Horn (D.C.) 197 F. 611, 616; Douglas v. Jordan, 232 Mich. 283, 205 N.W. 52, 41 A.L.R. 1437; Greve v. Caron, 233 Mich. 261, 206 N.W. 334; Burgas v. Stoutz, 174 La. 586, 141 So. 67; Pacific Gas & Electric Co. v. Crockett, etc., Co., 70 Cal.App. 283, 292-294, 233 P. ......
  • Harry E. Mchugh, Incorporated, a Corp. v. Haley
    • United States
    • North Dakota Supreme Court
    • August 18, 1931
    ...v. McEachran (Wash.) 271 P. 93; DeConly v. Winter Creek Canal Co. (Neb.) 193 N.W. 157; Douglas v. Jordan (Mich.) 205 N.W. 52; Greve v. Caron (Mich.) 206 N.W. 334; Peryer Pennock (Vt.) 17 A.L.R. 863, 115 A. 105; Barnes v. Lloyd, 112 Mass. 224; Hingtgen v. Thackery (S.D.) 121 N.W. 839. The in......
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