Prescriptive Easements in Ohio – The Story of Harris v. Dayton Power & Light Co. (Part 1 of 3)

February 24, 2016
Ohio’s Second District Court of Appeals recently decided the case of Harris v. Dayton Power & Light Co., 2nd Dist. Montgomery No. 26796, 2016-Ohio-517, which illustrates the real estate/property law concept known as a “prescriptive easement.”
Every case has a story, and this case has a great one. In 1973, Orlyn and Dorothy Harris purchased 130 acres of rural land in Germantown, Ohio. They were farmers, and they used this land as “overflow” for their farming operations and to graze livestock. In 1975, the Harrises sold all but 28 acres of the original 130 to another couple. They later gave the remaining 28 acres to their son, who then married. The son and his wife were the Plaintiffs in this case.
Fast-forward to 2009. The Plaintiffs still own the 28 acres. The rest of the original 130 acres has changed hands several times and is now owned by the Dayton Power and Light Company (DP&L), the Defendant in the case. The two sides did not make good neighbors.
The next post in this series will detail the facts of the dispute the landed the parties in Court, and the third post will explain what a prescriptive easement is and detail the Second District’s legal analysis.
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