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Dale Burmeister Prevails In The Michigan Court Of Appeals In Federal Cable Communications Act Case

In Heydon v MediaOne, a dispute arose over attaching or “piggybacking on” utility pole easements running across private property in the Ann Arbor area.  A variety of claims and defenses were involved in the litigation, including a constitutional challenge to the Federal Cable Communications Act of 1984, whether attaching a coaxial cable to existing electric utility poles unreasonably increased the burden on the easement, whether an unrecorded right of way agreement could be assigned, and the like.  The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled as a matter of law that the attachment of a cable television wire to poles within an electric company’s easement does not materially increase the burden on the servient estate.  It went on to find that because our client’s intended use of the easement would not have violated the terms of the servitude or unreasonably increase the burden on the servient estate, Detroit Edison was entitled to partially assign an interest in its utility easement to MediaOne.  Finally, it concluded that reasonable access of the easement by our client did not and would not in the future constitute trespass.  A motion for rehearing in the Court of Appeals has also now been denied.