Bob owned a farm in Wayne County which fronted on a state highway.
Bob owned a farm in Wayne County which fronted on a state highway. In 1990, Jane purchased an adjoining farm that had no highway frontage and could only be reached by a county road that was two miles from the state highway. Recognizing that it would shorten the access to her farm, in 1991 Jane asked Bob to sell her an interest that would allow her to use an existing dirt road across his farm, which led from her house directly to the state highway. Bob declined to make such a sale.
Nonetheless, over the next 25 years, Jane continuously used the dirt road for access to the state highway. Bob never said a word to Jane regarding this use. Jane’s house and the dirt road that commenced at the front of her house and continued across Bob’s farm were plainly visible to anyone on Bob’s farm.
In 2016, Tom visited Bob’s farm and offered to purchase it. Bob sold the farm to Tom for $200,000 and conveyed the property by warranty deed. A title search by Tom disclosed no encumbrances on the property.
When Tom moved onto the farm, he installed and locked a gate across the dirt road, thereby preventing Jane from its further use.
What are the respective rights of Jane and Tom with respect to the dirt road? Who is likely to prevail in a lawsuit commenced by Jane against Tom?