FROM JEFFERSON CIRCUIT COURT HONORABLE SUSAN SCHULTZ GIBSON,
JUDGE ACTION NO. 14-CI-004517
FOR APPELLANT: Jessica D. Smith Matthew A. Dry Louisville,
FOR APPELLEE: T. Morgan Ward, Jr. Brian R. Pollock
BEFORE: ACREE, DIXON, AND TAYLOR, JUDGES.
Shields brings this appeal from an August 3, 2015, order
adjudicating the legal status of a roadway. We affirm.
Shields and the University of Louisville Foundation, Inc.
(Foundation) separately own abutting tracts of real property
located in Jefferson County, Kentucky. Before 1942, these
tracts of real property were part of a larger 65-acre tract
of real property, and the 65-acre tract was jointly owned by
two individuals, Anna B. Steedly and George H. Steedly. Anna
and George each made a conveyance from the 65-acre tract by
deeds dated February 26, 1942.
George and his wife, Elizabeth, conveyed a one-half undivided
interest in 22 acres to Anna by deed dated February 26, 1942.
This 1942 deed contained the following pertinent language:
There is excepted from the aforesaid conveyance a 15 ft.
easement for a roadway[.] The successor in title to the
22-acre tract is the Foundation.
Anna conveyed a one-half undivided interest in 43 acres to
George by deed, likewise, dated February 26, 1942. This 1942
deed contained the following relevant language:
As appurtenant to said tract there is likewise conveyed to
said grantee herein a 15 ft. easement for a roadway[.]
successor in title to this tract of real property is Shields.
The roadway referred to in the above 1942 deeds runs from Old
Shepherdsville Road east through the Foundation's real
property to the real property currently owned by Shields. The
roadway is roughly 15-feet wide and 700-feet long.
this roadway that sparked the present controversy between the
parties. Both the Foundation and Shields alleged that the
other party impeded use of the roadway, and Shields claimed
ownership in fee simple of the roadway. The parties were
unable to resolve their differences, and as a result, the
Foundation filed a petition for declaratory relief in the
Jefferson Circuit Court. Therein, the Foundation asserted
that the roadway constituted an easement burdening its real
property and that said easement was created by grant as
evidenced by the 1942 deed. Shields filed an answer and
counterclaim. In the counterclaim Shields, inter
alia, alleged that he owned the roadway in fee
simple and cited to the 1942 deeds. The Foundation and
Shields eventually filed motions for summary judgment upon
the legal issues of ownership of the roadway and of the
proper interpretation of the 1942 deeds.
summary judgment entered August 3, 2015, the circuit court
interpreted the 1942 deeds as granting a right-of-way
easement in the roadway that burdened the Foundation's
property for the benefit of the real property currently owned
In describing the easement as "excepted" in the
1942 Deed conveying the 22[-]acre tract of land currently
owned by [the Foundation], and as "appurtenant" in
the 1942 Deed conveying the 43[-]acre tract of land currently
owned by [Shields], the parties show the intent that the
22[-]acre tract is the subservient [sic] estate and the 43[-]
acre tract is the dominant estate. By stating that the
easement was "appurtenant" in the 1942 Deed
conveying the 43[-]acre tract, the parties show the intent
that the easement inheres in the land and cannot be
terminated by an act of the parties or by operation of law.
Therefore, the Court hold that [Shields] does not own the