When their traditional rights of access to use Cooper’s Beach Road and Cooper’s Beach itself in Owl’s Head were challenged, Nathalie Scott and her family asked Eaton Peabody litigators Judy Metcalf and Ryan Dumais for help.
Nathalie Scott, Willis Scott, and their adult children Cynthia Blackman and Eliot Scott jointly own a home located on Cooper’s Beach Road in Owl’s Head Maine. For as long as they had owned the property, the Scotts had always used both Cooper’s Beach for recreation and had traversed the entire length of Cooper’s Beach Road by foot and by vehicle. The Scotts’ rights to use Cooper’s Beach were based on a express deeded easement benefiting their property. The Scotts’ rights to use Cooper’s Beach Road were based on the fact that the Town of Owl’s Head holds a public easement over the road and the subdivision plan creating the roadways.
In March of 2011 Darlene and Lewis Edwards purchased a property in the neighborhood. The Edwardses’ property included a portion of Cooper’s Beach and abutted a section of Cooper’s Beach Road. Despite both the recorded reference to the Scotts’ deeded access and beach rights and the Town’s public easement over all portions of the road, the Edwardses tried to use their apparent financial strength to block the Scotts from making use of either the beach or the portion of Cooper’s Beach Road crossing the Edwardses’ property.
When the Edwardses sued the Scotts in November of 2011, the Scotts engaged Judy Metcalf and Ryan Dumais to defend their rights to use both the beach and the road. Metcalf and Dumais represented the Scott family through the lengthy litigation process, which included a six day trial in December 2013 and January 2014. In July of 2014, the Trial Court entered judgment confirming both the Scotts’ deeded rights to use Cooper’s Beach for recreational purposes and the Town’s public easement over the entirety of Cooper’s Beach Road.
The Edwardses appealed the Trial Court’s judgment to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court which reviewed briefs and heard oral argument on the case. The Supreme Court handed down its order affirming all aspects of the Trial Court’s judgment on December 31, 2015. The Supreme Court’s order again confirms the Scotts’ rights to both the beach and the road.