real estate law

Access & Road Disputes

In the “bundle of sticks” that comprise real property ownership, one of the most important is access. While urban and suburban developments have clearly defined streets and roads established by recorded plats, the legal right to access rural or mountain property not contiguous to public highways is often less certain and litigation sometimes becomes necessary to establish that right. This is done under various legal theories such as implied easements by necessity, by prior use, by estoppel or by prescription.   In recent years with mountain property values increasing significantly, litigants have also asserted claims that particular routes are public roads based on historical use.  Land access litigation, particularly under federal statutes such as R.S. 2477, is a complicated area of the law that can require historical research dating back more than a century, particularly if mining claims are involved.  Our attorneys are well-versed in the complexities of these areas of law and can help determine the proper remedy for each client’s unique circumstances.