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Assoc. of Chapman Lake v. Long

Pennsylvania Superior Court

April 22, 2021

In Assoc. of Chapman Lake v. Long, the Longs owned property next to a lake, maintained a dock on the lake, and had used the lake recreationally since buying the land in 2007. The Associates of Chapman Lake, Inc., and Ken Srebro (“Associates”), who bought various parcels of land beneath the lake between 2007 and 2012, began charging the Longs $100 per year to use the lake, but the Longs refused to pay the fee. This litigation ensued, and after a bench trial, the trial court ruled that the Longs could not use the lake for recreation. The court deemed their use to be a trespass. The Longs appealed, and the Pennsylvania Superior Court reversed. In making its decision, the Court ruled that the trial court misinterpreted a 19th-century conveyance that granted the prior owners of the Longs’ property the right to use the lake as if they co-owned it. Under Pennsylvania property law, that right passed to the Longs.

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