On June 19, 2019, the Third Circuit issued an opinion in favor of Harlan Law Firm’s clients. Joan Brunson, et al. v. Crown Brake, LLC, et al., No. 18-994. In this case, the Brunsons purchased a six-acre tract and began building a large home on it. Subsequently, Crown Brake purchased a 190-acre tract to the rear of the Brunson Property. Crown Brake then issued a demand letter to the Brunsons, claiming that it was entitled to a servitude of passage through the middle of the Brunson Property and demanding that the they halt construction on their home (which was over 75% complete) immediately.
The Brunsons filed suit in the Ninth Judicial District to enjoin Crown Brake from entering their property and to request a declaratory judgment that the servitude did not exist. In support of their position, the Brunsons argued that the act that Crown Brake claimed created the servitude was ambiguous and, thus, insufficient to create a servitude.
The Trial Court ruled in favor of Crown Brake, holding that the Brunson Property was indeed burdened by a servitude. In a unanimous opinion, the Third Circuit reversed and rendered Judgment in favor the Brunsons holding that the subject act was, in fact, ambiguous and therefore could not create a servitude.