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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Kenneth L. Cleaver and Cynthia Cleaver appeal from a judgment placing an easement over their land. The jury found that an easement by estoppel existed in favor of Charles Cundiff. The jury also found that the Cleavers purchased their property in good faith without knowledge of the easement. The trial court disregarded the good faith finding and entered judgment in favor of Cundiff. HOLDING:Affirmed. The doctrine of easement by estoppel, or estoppel in pais, is an exception to the statute of frauds. Under this doctrine, a landowner may be estopped from denying the existence of an easement created by ���representations upon which another has detrimentally relied. These representations may be verbal or nonverbal. Once created, an easement by estoppel is binding upon successors in title if reliance upon the easement continues. After reviewing the evidence, the court holds that it is both legally and factually sufficient to establish that an easement by estoppel existed over Road 195-P. From the evidence introduced, the jury could reasonably infer that Road 195-P was used from the beginning by the Armstrongs as a matter of right. The testimony does not indicate who built the road or when; however, the evidence does show that the Armstrongs had lived on Section 171 since the early 1900s, that they had used the road for as long as anyone could remember, that the road was their means of ingress and egress to the house they built on Section 171, and that they had maintained the road throughout the years. The jury could reasonably infer that the Armstrongs would not have built their house without some reliable means of access and would not have expended time and money maintaining a road over which they had no claim. The evidence regarding the conduct of the Armstrongs and the previous owners of Section 172 is sufficient to support the jury’s finding that an easement by estoppel was created over Road 195-P. Because the use of Road 195-P and the reliance thereon has continued, the Cleavers are estopped to deny an easement. The Cleavers assert that their status as good faith or bona fide purchasers precludes an easement by estoppel from being imposed against them. They rely on Lakeside Launches Inc. v. Austin Yacht Club Inc., 750 S.W.2d 868 (Tex. App. ��� Austin 1988, writ denied), for the proposition that an easement by estoppel cannot be imposed against a subsequent purchaser for value, who has no notice, actual or constructive, of the easement claimed. In Harrison v. Boring, 44 Tex. 255 (1875), the Texas Supreme Court held that the purchasers were not bona fide purchasers, because they were put on notice of the claimed easement based upon the position of the building and its door and windows abutting their land. In Holden v. Weidenfeller, 929 S.W.2d 124 (Tex. App. ��� San Antonio 1996, writ denied), the purchasers in Holden saw the road and the gate which led across their property into land owned by another, thereby putting them on notice to inquire into the rights claimed by the adjoining landowners. The facts of the present case are more analogous to Harrison and Holden than Lakeside. In this case, the road across Section 172 was obviously visible. Before purchasing the land in Section 172, Kenneth Cleaver drove around the property and down the caliche or gravel road known as Road 195-P. He observed somebody in an old, green pickup using Road 195-P to cross Section 172. He noticed that Road 195-P led to a locked gate with various locks on it and then continued on into Section 171, which belonged to someone else. The Cleavers did not contact the adjoining landowners to inquire about any rights they may have claimed to use the road. Based upon this evidence, the Cleavers could not establish that they were bona fide purchasers. Thus, the trial court did not err in disregarding the jury’s answer or in refusing to enter judgment in the Cleavers’ favor. OPINION:Wright, C.J.; Wright, C.J., McCall and Strange, JJ.

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