Morrison Mahoney partner Joe Ciollo of the Hartford office recently obtained a defense verdict following an eight-day bench trial in the Stamford/Norwalk Superior Court.  Our client was a homeowner in Westport, Connecticut who shared a common driveway with the plaintiffs and a co-defendant whose homes were located on adjoining properties.  Our client and the co-defendant had lived in their respective homes since 1988 and 1995.  The plaintiffs moved into their home in 2017, and shortly thereafter began raising a number of disputes with the defendants regarding multiple property lines and the use of the common driveway, for which the plaintiffs had an easement for purposes of ingress and egress.  The disputes could not be resolved between the neighbors and suit was filed.  The plaintiffs alleged that our client’s fence and mailbox, as well as our client’s maintenance of grass, shrubs and a tree all interfered with their use of the easement, and requested that all such impediments be removed.  The plaintiffs also alleged that their property had suffered a diminution in value due to the interference.  The claims against the co-defendant included a similar allegation of easement interference, as well as adverse possession, nuisance related to an eight-foot “spite fence,” damage to adjacent wetlands that indirectly damaged the plaintiffs’ property, and various equitable claims.  Discovery in the case was extensive and included over twenty depositions of current and former owners and occupants of the various properties and numerous town employees.  At trial, we argued that although our client’s fence and mailbox technically encroached into the defined easement area, as did her landscaping activities, none of those circumstances interfered with the plaintiffs’ reasonable use of the easement.  We further argued that the plaintiffs did not present credible evidence of any diminution in the value of their property.  Given the equitable claims presented against our client, we also asserted a defense under the doctrine of unclean hands and introduced evidence of certain conduct over the years by the plaintiffs which we argued barred them from obtaining equitable relief.  Following trial, the court ruled that our client had not interfered with the plaintiffs’ reasonable use of the easement, and that the plaintiffs were not entitled to any monetary damages.  In accordance with the verdict, our client was not required to alter her use of the property in any way.