California Supreme Court Watch

Aug 10, 2022
Romero v. Shih, S275023.

#22-218 Romero v. Shih, S275023. (B310069; 78 Cal.App.5th 326; Los Angeles County Superior Court; EC064933.) Petitions for review after the Court of Appeal affirmed in part and reversed in part a judgment in a civil action. This case presents the following issue: Did the trial court correctly find the existence of an implied easement under the facts?

Petition for review granted; issues limited: 8/10/2022

Case fully briefed: 10/17/2022

Cause argued and submitted: 11/08/2023

Opinion filed; reversed and remanded: 2/01/2024

See the Court of Appeal Opinion.

See the Petition for Review.

See the Oral Argument.

See the California Supreme Court Opinion.  (Romero v. Shih (2024) 15 Cal.5th 680.)

“We took this case to decide whether the law imposes such a limitation on the recognition of implied easements [i.e., prohibiting a court from recognizing an implied easement that precludes the property owners from making all or most practical uses of the easement area].  We now conclude that it does not.  The evidentiary standard for recognizing an implied easement is a high one, and that standard will naturally be more difficult to meet where, as here, the nature of the easement effectively precludes the property owners from making most practical uses of the easement area.  But if there is clear evidence that the parties to the 1986 sale intended for the neighboring parcel’s preexisting use of the area to continue after separation of title, the law obligates courts to give effect to that intent.

We reverse and remand for the Court of Appeal to consider whether substantial evidence supports the trial court’s finding that an implied easement existed under the circumstances of this case.”

Justice Kruger authored the opinion of the Court, in which Chief Justice Guerrero and Justices Corrigan, Liu, Groban, Jenkins, and Evans concurred.