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Court: 'ingress' and 'egress' doesn't include parking

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has reversed a trial judge on a land use dispute between two sets of neighbors, finding that the clear meanings of “ingress" and "egress” do not include parking as two of the Porter County residents had argued based on past caselaw.

Deciding the case of Jerry and Mary Kwolek v. Rodney and Jennifer Swickard, No. 64A05-1006-PL-372, the three-judge appellate panel found that Porter Superior Judge Mary Harper had erred in ruling in favor of the Swickards on an easement dispute stretching back more than a decade.

The Swickards had been living near 560 West since the late 1970s, and after their private road access was cut off due to state road improvements in the 1980s, they learned they were essentially landlocked. They asked the neighboring Kwoleks for permission for an ingress-egress easement over 560 West. The two neighbors agreed and filed an official agreement with the county in 1993 allowing for the 60-foot wide easement.

But disputes arose in 2000, when the Swickards built a three-car garage on their property and added a concrete apron and gravel around it, some of it located within the easement. Parking issues arose between the neighbors and visitors, and in 2006, the Kwoleks began calling the police to complain. Jerry Kwolek installed landscaping, signs, evergreens, and parked a car on the easement and left it there for six months. He also confronted the Swickards’ kids about parking arrangements. The Swickards sued in November 2008 and sought to have the landscaping improvements removed and the written easement agreement from 1993 enforced, and to allow for parking.

The trial court ruled in the Swickards’ favor in May 2010, finding that the Swickards’ parking patterns didn’t interfere with the ingress-egress and that the improvements weren’t consistent with the 1993 written easement document.

But on appeal, the Court of Appeals panel pointed out that the definitions of “ingress” and “egress” in Black’s Law Dictionary and past caselaw do not include parking. The appellate judges found the Swickards’ citation of Wendy’s OF Ft. Wayne Inc v. Fagan, 644 N.E.2d 159, 163 (Ind. Ct. App. 1994), and McCauley v. Harris, 928 N.E.2d 309, 313 (Ind. Ct. App. 2010), misplaced, because while both deal with parking issues neither creates an implied right to park. The panel also rejected other Indiana and national caselaw the Swickards relied on.

Without a cogent prescriptive claim about parking, the scope of the easement can’t be expanded to include parking, the appellate panel found.

“In sum, parking is not a right incident to the enjoyment of an ingress-egress easement,” Judge Edward Najam wrote. “Again, the nature and extent of a written agreement is first determined by the text of the instrument that created it. The trial court stated that the easement should be construed in favor of the Swickards and against the Kwoleks. But where, as here, the text is explicit, there is no ambiguity to be construed.”

The appellate court found the record doesn’t support a finding that the Kwoleks’ improvements interfered with the ingress-egress. The panel also determined the doctrine of acquiescence doesn’t apply here and doesn’t bar the Kwoleks from raising their claims.
 

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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