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Williams and Koehler Obtain Defense Verdict in Trespass Case Alleging Easement Interference

March 31, 2020

Ryan Williams (Partner-Denver) and Kim Koehler (Associate-Denver) defended a trespass case against a client mining business that purchased 800 acres from the plaintiff to expand its neighboring mine. The plaintiff reserved to itself an easement allowing access to a piece of property that was not part of the sale, and a utility easement to service that property. As our client’s mine grew, the existing easements became obstacles to mining new portions of its property. Over several years, our client relocated a portion of the easement trail, requiring the plaintiff to share a road with mining activities. Our client also relocated the utilities, providing the same services through a different configuration. The plaintiff complained and filed suit, claiming our client’s actions constituted a trespass and an interference with the easements granted in the original transaction. Following a bench trial, the court disagreed and entered a judgment in our client’s favor, holding that the current configurations provided the plaintiff the level of access it needed, and therefore the plaintiff had not been damaged. Based on a prevailing-party provision in the operative agreements between the parties, the client is presently seeking reimbursement of its incurred attorneys’ fees and costs.

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