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For years William and his family enjoyed camping out on the three acres of land William owned on the beachfront of Lake Docalle. In 1967, William became disabled and could no longer meet his financial obligations, so to raise a fund for investment and income purposes, he subdivided the three acres, retaining the one acre actually fronting upon the lake, but selling the other two acres to Martin. The deed from William to Martin expressly included an easement over the westernmost 30 feet of the one-acre parcel retained by William; the easement was for access to the lake for recreational purposes. Shortly after the transaction was completed, Martin recorded his deed in the county containing the land. The county maintained an alphabetical grantor-grantee index only. In
1983, William died, leaving the one-acre of beachfront property to his wife, Carrie. Carrie could not bear to use the property any longer because it contained so many memories of William, so she sold it to Suburbia Developers, Inc., a real estate firm planning to build beachfront condominiums. A month later Martin died, and his two acres passed by testamentary gift to his nephew Steve. Three weeks after taking title to the property, Steve and his family drove their minivan, camper and kayaks to the property, intending to spend a weekend relaxing and kayaking at the lake. When they arrived, they discovered that Suburbia Developers had erected a chain link fence all along the boundary between Steve’s land and the acre of beachfront land. When they complained to the foreman supervising construction of the condominiums, he suggested they take the public road running along the western edge of both properties to the public boat docks about a half-mile away.
Steve brings an action to enjoin Suburbia Developers from obstructing his easement across the acre of beachfront property formerly owned by William.
What is the result?
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To maintain rights to the easement, the defendant must show that (1) the easement runs from the land and (2) Suburbia Developers had notice of the easement. Is Steve able to do that here?