Lindsay v. King

In Lindsay v. King (1956) 138 Cal.App.2d 333, the plaintiffs, owners of the Emery Ranch, sought a prescriptive easement to one-half the flow of water from a spring located on a neighboring ranch. (Lindsay, supra, 138 Cal.App.2d at p. 335.) The court concluded the plaintiffs had established a prescriptive right, and rejected the defendants' argument that the plaintiffs failed to establish any definite amount of water beneficially used for the statutory period. The court noted that while the extent of the use must be shown by the claimant, "the nature of the proof of user varies according to the circumstances." (Id. at p. 345.) In Lindsay, the plaintiffs had demonstrated "that the spring was the only source of water used by the Emery Ranch for domestic and agricultural uses for many years; that the water was diverted from the spring through a one or 11/4-inch pipe; that the available water was shared equally by the Sears Ranch and the Emery Ranch, who also shared the cost of maintenance and upkeep." (Ibid.) The court found this evidence sufficient to show a "definite beneficial use" by the plaintiffs. (Ibid.)