In the case Emily Rutherford v. Columbia Gas Transmission Corp., the gas company owned a utility easement across a portion of landowner Rutherford’s property. In order to service the gas line under the easement, the gas company needed to cut down seven trees belonging to Rutherford, who then filed suit seeking an injunction prohibiting the trees from being cut down.

The district court ruled against Rutherford, and declared that the gas company had the right to cut down the seven trees on her property.

In the case Emily Rutherford v. Columbia Gas Transmission Corp., the gas company owned a utility easement across a portion of landowner Rutherford’s property. In order to service the gas line under the easement, the gas company needed to cut down seven trees belonging to Rutherford, who then filed suit seeking an injunction prohibiting the trees from being cut down.

The district court ruled against Rutherford, declaring that the gas company had the right to cut down the seven trees on her property.

On appeal, the district court’s ruling was affirmed. Rutherford argued that because the gas company had allowed the trees, then small, to remain on the property when the pipeline was installed in the 1950s, the gas company must have contemplated large trees growing over the pipeline.

The Court of Appeals rejected this argument, reiterating the precedential rule of law that an express easement without clear dimensions must be interpreted in consideration of what is reasonable and necessary to effect the objective of the easement.

Clearing a right-of-way for access to the pipeline was found to be "reasonably necessary to serve the purpose of the easement." Because clearing a conservative, 15-foot right-of-way would require the seven trees to be felled, the appellate court ruled, the gas company should be allowed to cut the trees down.

Tara-Nicholle Nelson is author of "The Savvy Woman’s Homebuying Handbook" and "Trillion Dollar Women: Use Your Power to Make Buying and Remodeling Decisions." Ask her a real estate question online or visit her Web site, www.rethinkrealestate.com.

***

What’s your opinion? Leave your comments below or send a letter to the editor. To contact the writer, click the byline at the top of the story.

Show Comments Hide Comments

Comments

Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Success!
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
The best event in real estate kicks off next week! Tickets are selling quickly.Register Now×
Limited time: Get 30 days of Inman Select for $5.SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription