(Tenn. Ct. App. May 26, 2009).
A group of Rutherford County landowners whose property abutted one side of a private road which they maintained at their own expense filed a suit for trespass against a neighbor and developer who used the same road for access to houses he was building on the other side. Their suit also included a due process claim against the County for erroneously granting building permits for those houses. The trial court agreed that the building permits were granted in error, but ruled that the county's action was an innocent error rather than a due process violation. The trial court also dismissed the plaintiffs' claims against the developer, holding that he was entitled to use the road because of a permanent easement he had acquired from his predecessors-in-interest. We affirm the trial court's dismissal of the due process claim, but reverse its dismissal of the trespass claim because the evidence shows that the individual who sold the property to the defendant had abandoned the easement and, thus, that the defendant had no right to use the road.
Opinion may be found at the TBA website: