After a three-day trial in the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles, Ellia Thompson, partner at Venable, LLP, along with co-counsel Richard Arshonsky of Levinson, Arshonsky, Kurtz & Komsky, LLP, secured a verdict in favor of their clients, the Gross Family Limited Partnership, et al., a prominent group of landholders in the San Fernando Valley.
When the family acquired their property in 1959, the deed included an express easement for accessible entry and exit using a piece of land equivalent to a driveway. Although the express easement expired in 1979, the plaintiffs, their tenants, and their tenants’ customers and vendors continued to regularly use the driveway. However, after the neighboring property was sold in December 2021, the new owner, Castelo Heights LLC, took steps to block the plaintiffs and their various business stakeholders from accessing the driveway.
The plaintiffs sought legal counsel to protect their long-standing use of the driveway under a prescriptive easement, challenging the defendant’s attempts to obstruct their access in court.
The judgment was filed in favor of the Gross Family Limited Partnership, et al., on December 29, 2023, on three causes of action: prescriptive easement, quiet title, and injunctive relief. Plaintiffs’ right to permanently enter and exit their property without interference was restored. The Court also provided the plaintiffs with a path forward, stating that all subsequent owners of the neighboring property will also be barred from destroying or blocking the contested driveway.
Ms. Thompson led the Venable team in California, with assistance from Rodney Lasher. Richard Arshonsky, of Levinson, Arshonsky Kurtz & Komsky, LLP, served as a co-counsel for the trial. The Venable team’s strong collaboration with the co-counsel helped to guide the team to victory.