Say What You Mean–The Way A Court Will Read It

Say What You Mean–The Way A Court Will Read It

In writing legal agreements, it is best to be clear. Often this means that lawyers use legal jargon because courts have already ruled what such jargon means. But legal jargon used incorrectly can make trouble.

An easement agreement created an “exclusive” access easement was “for the sole and exclusive use” of both the grantor’s and grantee’s parcels. Courts have long interpreted an exclusive easement as being solely for the benefit of the grantee, barring the grantor from using the land covered by the easement so the first “exclusive” would mean just the grantee could use the driveway. Yet the second “exclusive” clearly said it was for both the grantee and the grantor. That usage was the opposite of the first and inconsistent with the long-standing interpretation of the term “exclusive”.

Not surprisingly, the parties ended up in court. The grantee testified he intended the easement to be just for his use while the grantor testified to the opposite. And in fact both parties used the driveway for some time. The court ruled that, because easements are presumed to be nonexclusive, with both parties allowed to use it, if the intent is to allow only the grantee to use it, the agreement needs to clearly and unequivocally say so. This agreement did not do that so both parties could use it.

Sloppy writing left the parties open to an expensive legal action. It is best to have legal documents drafted by an expert so that they mean what the parties intend.


Cunningham Dalman, PC publishes this web site and its component parts to inform users about our firm, our attorneys and general new developments in the law. The web site and blogs are not intended as legal advice on any matter. There are many factors that may affect your situation. You should not act or refrain from acting because of information found here without first seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice from someone who is familiar with your particular circumstances.

In the operation of this web site and our blogs, we do not intend to create an attorney-client relationship with you and no such relationship shall be created by your use of this web site. Such a relationship can only be established to the extent an attorney at Cunningham Dalman, PC expressly agrees to undertake the relationship. Please do not communicate to us any information you regard as confidential unless and until we have established a formal attorney-client relationship with you. Any information you send to us before we establish an attorney client relationship may not be privileged or confidential. Information you send to us over the Internet may not be secure.

Our Practice Areas
Our Practice Areas

Recent Posts


Cunningham Dalman P.C.
PO Box 1767
321 Settlers Road
Holland, MI 49422-1767

Google Map


Scroll to Top

Tell Us How We Can Help You

Send us a quick message or call us at 616.392.1821!

Seminar Registration

Fill in the form below to reserve your spot today for each person attending. If you have any questions, please call the office at 616.392.1821.

Call Now Button