Ecotone Farm, LLC v. Ward (Ecotone IV)

U.S. Dist. Court, D. New Jersey, Civ. No. 2:11-5094(KM) (MAH), November 21, 2016: State law claims against conservation easement holder not dismissed.

The relevant cast of characters in this matter are Huff, managing member of Ecotone Farm LLC (Ecotone), the Plaintiffs; the Wards, neighbors to the farm property, Defendants; Fox, the Township Engineer, also a Defendant; and [...]

Schaecher v. Bouffault

Supreme Court of Virginia, Record No. 141480,June 4, 2015: Accusation of conservation easement violation is not defamation in Virginia.

At issue was whether public accusations that a party violated a conservation easement is defamation in Virginia. The Plaintiffs, 3 Dog Farm, LC, and Happy Tails sought a special use permit to operate a boarding kennel of more [...]

Historic District Commission v. Sciame

Appellate Court of Connecticut, Ac 35713, August 12, 2014: Attorney’s fees awarded to historic commission.

Sciame was ordered by the local Historic District Commission (Commission) to remove certain renovations on a property in a historic district. When he failed to comply, the commission sued. After a trial on the issues found for the commission, and trial and [...]

Stockport Mountain Corporation LLC v. Norcross Wildlife Foundation, Inc.

US District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania, No. 3:11cv514, August 27, 2013: Conservation easement’s prohibition of industrial or commercial activity unambiguously bans fracking.

At issue was whether the wording of a conservation easement was ambiguous regarding prohibition of surface activity by plaintiff Stockport Mountain (Stockport) for natural gas hydraulic fracturing (fracking). Defendant Norcross Wildlife Foundation, Inc. (Norcross) brought a [...]

IN RE BARNES FOUNDATION

PA Superior Court, 2013 PA Super 145, June 19, 2013: Special knowledge not sufficient interest for private citizen to intervene in charitable trust matter.

[Editorial note: Some commentators have made the argument that conservation easements and historic preservation easements are charitable trusts under the laws of various States. This case is reviewed here because it concerns standing [...]

Wendler v. City of St. Augustine

FL Dist. Court of Appeals, 5th Dist., No. 5D12-2563, March 15, 2013: Compensation for Florida city’s denial of demolition is based on date of denial, not date of ordinance.

Between 1998 and 2006, the Wendlers bought real property located in a National Register of Historic Places District in St. Augustine, Florida. At the time of their purchases, [...]

The Nature Conservancy, Inc. v. Sims

US Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit, Nos. 09-5634/6070, May 21, 2012: Filling a sinkhole violated “unambiguous” conservation easement despite reserved rights; upholds attorneys’ fee award to easement holder. A 2-1 split decision.

The Nature Conservancy (“Conservancy”) and the Sims entered into a conservation easement on land the Conservancy sold Sims. The Conservancy subsequently asserted that the Sims [...]