• Court of Appeals of Texas, Second District
  • 02-15-00392-CV
  • BILL MEIER, JUSTICE
Ward Campbell operated a radio transmission tower under an easement on land owned by appellant Lindemann Properties. The tower broadcast signals for various public and private entities, including the Archer County sheriff's department and fire department. Appellant acquired the land after the easement was granted in 1977, and when Campbell replaced the aging tower in 2012, appellant sued for a declaration that the easement had ended. The trial court found that replacing the tower was allowed as maintenance under the easement and ruled for Campbell, also awarding him attorney's fees. An appeal followed. The court found that certain provisions of the easement authorized only one tower and terminated the easement upon removal or abandonment of the tower, but also found that the easement must be read to give effect to all provisions. The court found that provisions authorizing maintenance allowed Campbell to replace the tower when necessary. Similarly, the Texas Supreme Court allowed the replacement of a pipeline constructed under an easement in Houston Pipe Line Co. v. Dwyer (374 S.W.2d 662). Appellant argument that allowing replacement would negate the termination clause and cause the easement to run into infinity, but the court rejected this argument, noting that a party might abandon or remove the tower without a replacement. The court also rejected appellant's argument that Campbell violated the easement by briefly operating both towers simultaneously, finding the public need for continuous radio transmission for the sheriff and fire department justified the dual operation. The court affirmed the trial court's judgment in most respects but reversed and remanded the portion on attorney's fees because the trial court improperly allowed unsegregated fees. Lindemann Properties v. Campbell, Fort Worth Court of Appeals, Case No. 02-15-00392-CV, 6/22/17.

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