Brown v. Voss

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Brown v. Voss
Court Washington Supreme Court
Citation 715 P.2d 514
Date decided March 6, 1986


  • 3 parcels of land were arranged south to north:
  1. parcel C = driveway easement
  2. parcel B = Brown's property = dominant estate
  3. parcel A = Voss's property = servient estate

Thus, A had to pass through parcel B in order to reach the driveway easement.

  • Later, parcel C = driveway's easement = purchase by Brown
  • Brown 1st met Voss when Brown complained about a trespass by Voss's nephew
  • Subsequently, Brown built a house that straddled parcels B & C (both of which Brown owned by this time)
  • Brown & Voss had a fist-fight.

Procedural History

  • Brown sued Voss over the easement between parcels B & A.
  • Voss lost in the trial court.
  • Voss won in the court of appeals in the state of Washington.


Can the owner of a dominant estate [Brown] use the easement to access property acquired later [parcel C], if the use doesn't place an additional burden on the servient estate [parcel A = Voss]?


Justice Brachtenbach: The owner of a dominant estate [Brown] can use the easement to access after-acquired property [parcel C] if no additional burden is placed on the servient estate [parcel A of Voss].




Court: Voss had suffered no real injury.


By the time Brown won this case, he had lost parcel B in foreclosure & property C for failing to pay property taxes!

Afterwards, Voss bought the middle parcel B.