EASEMENTS; CREATION; PRESCRIPTION: A landowner gains an easement by prescription to maintain a mailbox on a neighbor's land where such mailbox has been present continuously, uninterrupted, and adversely for a period in excess of twenty years. Gajewski v. Taylor, 536 N.W.2d 360 (N.D. 1995). Taylor and Gajewskis' property were separated by the public roadway. The U.S. Postal Service for purposes of efficiency and safety required all rural mailboxes to be on one side of the road, thus Gajewski's mailbox was on Taylor's land.

Reporter's Comment: Though it is not part of the opinion it appears that this case is one between "grumpy old men". The mailbox had been present in its same place at least twenty years and possibly close to fifty years. Taylor testified that it had not been a problem for thirty years. Now, however, he felt that it was a hazard to vehicular traffic in general and to him in particular. The Gajewskis had already secured a restraining order against Taylor prior to the instant court's finding that the three necessary elements for a prescriptive easement had been met. The court deferred any findings on safety issues to those having jurisdiction over the road.

Editor's Comment: This case demonstrates the flexibility available to courts with regard to a doctrine as apparently "objective" in character as prescriptive rights. The concept of "hostility" is open to manipulation. For instance, in other cases, where there was less justification for continued use of the mailbox, a court might find that the use of the mailbox over the preceding fifty years had been merely "permissive" - a neighborly accomodation - and that no prescriptive rights arose.

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