LUTHER E. THURLOW ET AL.
LEE ANN HULTEN ET AL. LEE ANN HULTEN ET AL.
LUTHER E.THURLOW ET AL.
March 21 2017
from Superior Court, judicial district of Hartford, Complex
Litigation Docket, Bright, J.
Richard S. Cody, with whom, on the brief, was Jon B. Chase,
for the appellants-appellees (plaintiffs in the first case,
defendants in the second case).
Michael S. Bonnano, for the appellees-appellants (defendants
in the first case, plaintiffs in the second case).
DiPentima, C. J., and Sheldon and Blue, Js.
appeal and cross appeal arise out of two actions brought to
the trial court, which were consolidated for trial, stemming
from a property dispute between adjoining landowners in
Canterbury. In the first action, Luther E. Thurlow, Anthony
Denning, and Steven Pelletier (Thurlow parties),
claimed that Lee Ann Hulten and Linda K. Dieters (Hulten
parties), had interfered with their right to access their
landlocked property via easements over the Hulten
parties' property, comprised of two separate parcels, lot
A and lot B. The Thurlow parties claimed an express easement
over lot A and an easement by necessity or an easement by
implication over lot B. The Thurlow parties claimed that they
had sustained damages as a result of the actions of the
Hulten parties in restricting their use of the easements. In
the second action, the Hulten parties claimed that the
Thurlow parties had been trespassing on their property and
sought to quiet title to the disputed property. The Hulten
parties denied the existence of any easement over their
property, but claimed that, even if an easement existed, it
was limited to lot A. They thus sought to enjoin the Thurlow
parties from using the claimed easement over lot B. The
Hulten parties also sought to quiet title as to the size and
boundaries of lot B and to recover damages for the
unauthorized cutting and removal of timber from land they
claimed to be part of lot B.
trial court found that the Thurlow parties had an express
easement over a path off of Gooseneck Hill Road that ran
through the Hulten parties' property, lot A. It rejected
the Thurlow parties' claim that they had an easement by
necessity or by implication running from the northern border
of lot A across lot B, to its northern border with the
Thurlow parties' landlocked property, and it denied the
Thurlow parties' request for an injunction preventing the
Hulten parties from blocking access to the claimed easement.
The court further determined that to the extent that the
Hulten parties have blocked the Thurlow parties from
accessing the easement, the Thurlow parties failed to
establish that they had suffered any harm.
Thurlow parties filed this appeal from the judgment of the
trial court, and the Hulten parties filed a cross appeal. In
their appeal, the Thurlow parties claim that the trial court
erred in finding that they did not have an easement by
necessity or by implication over lot B; that the court erred
in failing to enjoin the Hulten parties from blocking their
use of the express easement over lot A; and that the court
erred in precluding them from submitting evidence in support
of their claim that they had suffered damages when the Hulten
parties blocked them from accessing firewood on their
property. In their cross appeal, the Hulten parties claim
that the trial court incorrectly determined the boundaries of
examined the record on appeal and considered the briefs and
the arguments of the parties, we conclude that the judgment
of the trial court should be affirmed. Because the
court's memorandum of decision fully addresses the
arguments raised in the present appeals, we adopt its
thorough and well reasoned decision as a proper statement of
the facts and the applicable law on these issues. See
Thurlow v. Hulten, 173 Conn.App., A.3d
(2014) (appendix). It would serve no useful purpose for this
court to repeat the analysis contained in the trial
court's decisions. See Riley v.
Pierson, 126 Conn.App. 486, 492, 12 A.3d 581 (2011).
judgment is affirmed.
E. THURLOW ET AL.
HULTEN ET AL.[*]
HULTEN ET AL.
E. THURLOW ET AL.
Court, Complex Litigation Docket at Hartford File No.
Court, Complex Litigation Docket at Hartford File No.
filed October 15, 2014
of decision in action in first case, inter alia, to quiet
title, and, in second case, for, inter alia, declaratory
judgment. Judgment in part for the plaintiffs in the first
case, defendants in the second case, and in part for the
defendants in the first case, plaintiffs in the second case.
S. Cody and Jon B. Chase, for the plaintiffs in the first
case, defendants in the second case.
S. Bonnano, for the defendants in the first case, plaintiffs
in the second case.
case arises out of a property dispute between adjoining
landowners in Canterbury. The plaintiffs in the 2005 action,
Luther E. Thurlow, Anthony Denning and Steven Pelletier
(‘‘Thurlow Parties''), claim that the
defendants in that action, Lee Ann Hulten and Linda K.
Dieters (‘‘Hulten Parties''), have
interfered with the Thurlow Parties' rights to access
their lots from Gooseneck Hill Road via an easement over the
Hulten Parties' property. The Hulten Parties deny that
the Thurlow parties have such an easement.
2009 action, the Hulten Parties claim that the Thurlow
Parties have been trespassing on their property because the
Thurlow Parties have misidentified the boundaries of one of
their lots that abuts the Hulten Parties' property. The
Thurlow Parties dispute this claim. Thus, the Hulten Parties
have asked the court to resolve this boundary dispute by
ruling on their quiet title action in the 2009 action.
specific claims asserted by the parties are as follows. In
the 2005 action, the First Count of the Thurlow Parties'
Amended Substituted Complaint dated September 17, 2013, seeks
to quiet title in their alleged easement over the Hulten
Parties' property. The Fourth Count seeks an injunction
prohibiting the Hulten Parties from obstructing the
easement. In the Fifth Count, the Thurlow
Parties claim that the Hulten Parties have trespassed on
their easement. The Sixth Count claims that the Hulten
Parties have negligently breached a duty they owed to the
plaintiffs by not allowing them to haul wood they cut on
their property over the easement. The Seventh Count alleges
that this same conduct constitutes a conversion of the
Thurlow Parties' cut wood. The Eighth Count alleges that
the Hulten Parties have tortiously interfered with
Denning's business relations by not letting him remove
the cut wood. Finally, the Ninth Count alleges that the
Hulten Parties have tortiously interfered with the Thurlow
Parties' contractual relationship with the parties that
sold them the lot, which is supposed to benefit from the
Hulten Parties have denied the existence of an easement. They
also dispute the Thurlow Parties' claimed scope of any
2009 action, in Count One of the Third Amended Complaint
dated May 19, 2011, the Hulten Parties seek a declaratory
judgment that the easement claimed in the 2005 action, if
proven to exist, is limited to only a portion of the Hulten
Parties' property, described as Lot A. They allege that
the easement does not extend over what they identify as Lot
B. In Count Two, the Hulten Parties seek an injunction
prohibiting the Thurlow Parties from using the alleged
easement on Lot B. In Count Three, the Hulten Parties seek to
quiet title as to the size and boundaries of Lot B. Count
Four seeks damages for the Thurlow Parties' unauthorized
cutting and removal of timber from what the Hul-ten Parties
believe is their Lot B.
response, the Thurlow Parties have asserted counterclaims in
the 2009 action claiming an easement by necessity and/or an
easement by implication over Lot B. They also dispute the
Hulten Parties' claims as to the boundaries of Lot B.
court severed the parties' claims for damages and instead
went forward with a trial on the primary questions that
underlie all of the claims. First, do the Thurlow Parties
have an easement over the property of the Hulten Parties?
Second, if so, what is the scope and precise location of the
easement? Third, what are the proper boundaries of the Hulten
Parties' Lot B? Resolution of these questions would
necessarily resolve a number of the counts of the
parties' complaints and counterclaims and could resolve
all of the claims asserted.
trial proceeded before the court over three days. The court
heard from a number of witnesses, including Denning, Hulten,
Raymond Hulten (Hulten's husband), John Dieters
(Dieters' husband), Alexander Osiper (an abutting
landowner), Kristen Estabrooks (Thurlow Parties' title
searcher), Bruce Woodis (Thurlow Parties' expert land
surveyor), and Gerald Stefon (Hulten Parties' expert land
surveyor). The court also received hundreds of exhibits,
including deeds and maps relating not just to the lots at
issue but to several abutting properties. Some of these
records date back to the 1700s. Following trial, the parties
submitted posttrial briefs, supplemental briefs and reply
briefs. The court also conducted two site visits, one before
trial and one after all of the briefs had been filed.
on all of the evidence submitted, the court makes the
following findings of fact. The court first addresses the
facts as they relate to the Thurlow Parties' claim of an
easement from Gooseneck Hill Road to reach their property.
The Thurlow Parties are owners of a lot, approximately 9.33
acres in size, located west of Route 169, north of Gooseneck
Hill Road, west of Lisbon Road and south of Phinney Lane in
the town of Canterbury. Exhibit 1. The parties have referred
to this lot as the Rainsford Lot, or Lot 21. Id. The
property is bordered on the east by property owned by Donald
Minski. It is bordered on the north (Lot 20), south (Lot 30),
east (Lot 31) by other lots owned by the Thurlow Parties. The
parties agree that exhibit 1 accu- rately sets forth the
dimensions of Lot 21. The Thurlow Parties acquired their
rights in Lot 21 from Leonard Montesi, Steven Marien and
Kenneth Thomas in two deeds on April 10, 2003. A warranty
deed conveyed title to Lot 21 as set forth in schedule A to
the deed. Exhibit 77. That deed made no mention of an
easement or right-of-way over any other property, even though
it is undisputed that Lot 21 is landlocked and does not have
direct access onto a public road or highway. A second
quitclaim deed conveyed to the Thurlow Parties any interest
the grantors had not only in the property itself but also to
a ‘‘second tract or right of way as deeded to
Frank Tillinghast by Mrs. George Bromley Adm. of Estate of
Joseph Farnum and is described as follows;- A right of way
from my house across two lots and through wood; and following
the path thence to what is called the Rainsford Wood lot, for
the purpose of going to and from said lot, cut and cart wood
and timber standing on said lot and occupying said lot,
always putting up bars on said lot.'' Exhibit 78. The
right-of-way language incorporated in exhibit 78 does in fact
quote from a deed from Mrs. George Bromley on December 24,
1903, purporting to grant a right-of-way from her house to
the Rainsford Lot for the purposes set forth in exhibit 78.
Exhibit 70. At the time of this grant, Mrs. Bromley, as
administratrix for the estate of Joseph Farnum, owned
property abutting Gooseneck Hill Road that is now owned by
the Hulten Parties and is described by them as Lot A. Exhibit
159 accurately sets forth the boundaries and dimensions of
the property owned by Mrs. Bromley at the time she granted
the right-of-way to the Rainsford lot in 1903 and of Lot A as
owned by the Hulten Parties today. That lot is identified on
exhibit 159 as ‘‘Property of Lee Ann Hul-ten
& Linda K. Dieters 2nd Tract.'' Exhibit 159. It
is undisputed that Bromley did not own either Lot B or Lot
30, whether as described by the Thurlow Parties (exhibits 2
and 144E) or by the Hulten Parties (exhibit 159, fourth
tract). Furthermore, there is no evidence that the owners of
the property between Bromley's property and the Rainsford
Lot (Lot 21) ever gave Bromley ...