United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Elizabeth A. Stafford, Mag. Judge.
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO
E. LEVY, United States District Judge
a case about an easement and the accompanying obligations for
the easement holder. Plaintiff Bo Kang and defendants Systems
Capital Real Property Corporation and McDonald's
Corporation are adjacent property owners in Southfield,
Michigan. They dispute whether an easement still exists and
its attendant obligations. The purpose of the easement was
for a sewer line to run under plaintiff's parking lot,
the burdened parcel, and was used at some point by occupants
on defendants' property, the benefitting
parcel. (Id. at 3.) The benefitting
parcel required use of plaintiff's sewer line because it
could not access the public sewer line on the nearby main
contends that an easement by necessity arose because
defendants could not access the public sewer line.
(Id.) He further pleads that he only learned of
defendants' use of the sewer line when defendants asked
him to sign a written easement in 2008, which he signed.
(Id.) Plaintiff makes no additional mention of this
written easement or whether it was terminated. Though
plaintiff characterizes the easement as one by necessity, it
appears equally likely that the easement exists expressly.
October 12, 2018, plaintiff filed a complaint in the Circuit
Court of Oakland County alleging that the nonuse of the sewer
line impairs the value of his property. (Dkt. 1-1 at 2.) Soon
after, defendants removed the case pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332. (Dkt. 1.) Plaintiff filed an amended complaint
on November 20, 2018. (Dkt. 2.) Before the Court is
defendants' motion to dismiss the amended complaint under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (Dkt. 7.)
motion to dismiss, the Court must “construe the
complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and
accept all allegations as true.” Keys v. Humana,
Inc., 684 F.3d 605, 608 (6th Cir. 2012). “[A]
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009). A claim is facially plausible “when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Id. It need not
contain “detailed factual allegations, ” but must
contain more than “labels and conclusions” or
“a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 555 (2007).
fails to state a claim because (1) it is unclear whether an
express or implied easement by necessity exists, if an
easement exists at all, and what law obligates defendants to
remove the sewer line in either case, and (2) plaintiff fails
to plead when his injury occurred, impermissibly evading the
application of the statute of limitations.
Easement and Accompanying Obligations
maintains that defendants' nonuse of the sewer line is the
source of his injury and defendants are thus required to
remove it. He fails to allege that an easement by necessity
exists, but also appears to plead that an express easement
exists. Regardless of whether an easement by necessity or
express easement exists, plaintiff does not cite Michigan
law, statutory or otherwise, to support his contention that
defendants are obligated to remove the sewer line.
easement by necessity exists if the use is one of strict
necessity, which requires that the easement be the only means
available to achieve the user's desired ends. Charles
A. Murray Tr. v. Futrell, 303 Mich.App. 28, 55-58 (2013)
(reasoning that strict necessity is lacking where the
plaintiffs claimed an easement by necessity to drive over the
defendant neighbors' lots because a different, albeit
more difficult, route existed that did not intrude on the
defendants' lots). An easement by necessity may be lost
in two ways: when the strict necessity justifying its use no
longer exists, id. at 42 (citing Waubun Beach
Ass'n v. Wilson, 274 Mich. 598, 609 (1936)), or
through abandonment, Goodman v. Brenner, 219 Mich.
55, 60 (1922).
there were an easement by necessity in this case, it no
longer exists according to the facts set forth in the
complaint. It is clear that at some point, the occupants of
defendants' property had an easement by necessity to
build and maintain a sewer line because they could not access
the public sewer line on the main road. Although the sewer
line itself still physically exists, the defendants lost the
easement by necessity because the strict necessity that
previously justified the easement no longer exists, as
demonstrated by the nonuse of the sewer line. As set forth
below, defendants no longer have any of the obligations
attached to the maintenance of an easement.
claims defendants have an obligation to remove the sewer lin
because Michigan law requires that the party benefitting from
an easement bear the burden for maintenance and repair of the
easement (Dkt. 1-1 at 6), but he fails to provide caselaw
imposing any obligation, much less one to remove the subject
of an easement by necessity, if the easement no longer
exists. Indeed, defendants no longer have any property
interest in the sewer line if the easement by necessity is
gone. Therefore, to the extent plaintiff pleads that the