PAUL LYNN & a.
WENTWORTH BY THE SEA MASTER ASSOCIATION
Argued: January 7, 2016
Hinckley, Allen & Snyder, LLP, of Concord (Richard Y.
Uchida and Daniel M. Deschenes on the brief, and Mr.
Deschenes orally), for the plaintiffs.
Sheehan Phinney Bass Green, PA, of Manchester (Michael C.
Harvell and Megan C. Carrier on the brief, and Mr. Harvell
orally), for the defendant.
plaintiffs, Paul and Sara Lynn, appeal an order of the
Superior Court (Anderson, J.) granting summary
judgment to the defendant, Wentworth By The Sea Master
Association (association), and denying summary judgment to
the plaintiffs. The parties dispute the validity of an
easement on the plaintiffs' property that provides
members of the association beach access. Because we conclude
that an easement was validly created, we affirm.
record supports the following pertinent facts. The
association governs a residential development, comprised of
over 100 homes as well as common areas, in New Castle. The
plaintiffs purchased their property, Lot 17, by warranty deed
dated June 30, 2011. The easement at issue is a walkway that
provides beach access to association members and their
guests. It runs from Little Harbor Road along Lot 17 and the
neighboring lot before cutting across Lot 17 to the water.
was the site of the first house constructed in the
development, and was first conveyed to the plaintiffs'
predecessors in interest, the Horgans, by warranty deed dated
April 28, 1995. Both Horgans testified during deposition that
the easement existed on the property before they bought it
from the developer. Mrs. Horgan recalled doing a
"walk-through" with a realtor, and Mr. Horgan
recalled speaking with a realtor on multiple occasions and
meeting at least once with David Caligaris, a representative
of the developer. Mr. Horgan testified that he knew there was
an easement over the property when he and his wife purchased
it. Caligaris testified that he and Mr. Horgan had a
"handshake" on the existence of the easement,
although its precise location may have been unclear. The
Horgans also testified that they had no problems with the
easement during the time that they lived on the property.
deed from the developer to the Horgans states: "This
Conveyance is subject to all utility and other applicable
easements or restrictions of record, or which may be recorded
in the future with respect to the Wentworth By The Sea
Development o[f] the Little Harbor Development." This
language is also present in the plaintiffs' deed. No deed
in the chain of title specifically mentions an easement
providing beach access, although other easements are
plan for the development, recorded in September 1994 by the
association's predecessor, did not show the easement. On
May 11, 1995 - 13 days after the Horgans purchased the
property - a revised site plan, which depicted the easement,
was recorded. The association's predecessor recorded a
Declaration of Easement in April 1996, which stated:
An access easement in favor of NC Wentworth, LLC, and its
successors, the Wentworth By The Sea Master Association, or
any successor master association, over or upon the easement
area shown as "Additional Access Easement" on Lot
17, on a plan entitled "Easement Plan for Lot 17 and 23
of Little [H]arbor, Wentworth By The Sea" to be recorded
at the Rockingham County Registry of Deeds.
The predecessor also filed an Easement Plan in April 1996
depicting the easement running over the property.
Horgans' deed also states: "Title to and use of the
above lot is subject to the Declaration of the Wentworth By
The Sea Master Association, Covenants, Conditions and
Restrictions, recorded at the Rockingham County Registry of
Deeds at Book 3026, Page 2596, and amendments thereto
recorded in said Registry." The association's
Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CCR) states, in
The Wentworth By the Sea development is shown on the Master
Site Plan dated February 3, 1993, and recorded . . . . The
improvements, both existing and proposed, are shown on that
Plan . . . or by any subsequent Site Plans. All such plans
recorded in connection with the property shall, collectively
or as a composite, be deemed to be the Master Site Plan(s).
record establishes that the plaintiffs had actual notice of
the site plan, revised site plan, Declaration of Easement,
Easement Plan, and the easement itself prior to purchasing
the property. The Easement Plan was specifically mentioned in
their deed: "Being the same premises shown on a plan
entitled Easement Plan for Lot 17 & 23 at Little Harbor