Feloney v. BayeAnnotate this Case
For several years, Michael Feloney used his neighbor Robert Baye's driveway to turn his vehicle to enter his garage. Eventually Baye decided to build a retaining wall on his driveway, which prevented Feloney from using Baye's driveway. Feloney sued Baye, requesting the district court to impose a prescriptive easement on Baye's driveway for ingress and egress. The district court granted summary judgment for Baye, concluding (1) Feloney's use of the driveway was permissive under the "unenclosed land" rule, which provides an exception to the rule presuming adverseness when the use is over unenclosed land; and (2) thus Feloney could not prove the elements required for a prescriptive easement. The Supreme Court affirmed but for different reasons, holding (1) the presumption of permissiveness arises when the land is unenclosed wilderness and does not apply in urban settings such as in this case; (2) when the owner of a property has opened or maintained a right of way for his own use and the claimant's use appears to be in common with that use, the presumption arises that the use is permissive; and (3) Feloney's use of Baye's driveway was presumptively permissive under this rationale.