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LOS ANGELES—Easements are not a fast evolving area of the law—common law has had the basics down for a few hundred years or so. Yet one should never underestimate the ingenuity of neighbors to craft new disputes—and make new law. 

In Laurel Canyon in Southern California, Flora Dolnikov had a recorded access easement, granted in 1942, over a neighboring property. Contemplating developing two homes on the property benefitted by the easement, she learned that, notwithstanding the easement, the building department required a new “community driveway agreement” with her neighbor, and she got one.  She treated the agreement informally, and did not record it or obtain any title insurance insuring her interests under the agreement.  Her neighbor later sold the neighboring property to Dikran Ekizian.    

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