Koontz v. Town of Superior

In Koontz v. Town of Superior, 746 P.2d 1264 (Wyo. 1987), which involved a claimed public prescriptive easement (though not pursuant to Wyo. Stat. Ann. 24-1-101), the Court applied the following principles in reviewing the record. Public use of a road will be deemed permissive unless a public authority has assumed supervision and control of the road or has kept it in repair. Koontz, 746 P.2d at 1268. If the landowner establishes that the public's use is merely permissive, the question of supervision, control or maintenance is irrelevant because a prescriptive easement cannot be acquired if the use is permissive. Id. If permissive use is not established, the landowner is still entitled to a presumption of permissive use unless the public authority establishes that it has assumed supervision or control of the road or has kept it in repair. Id. In Koontz v. Town of Superior, an appeal from an order granting summary judgment to the claimant, the only evidence indicating permissive use by the claimant was a statement in an affidavit that the landowner "'permissibly allowed' the property to be used as a roadway," and a statement in another affidavit that "'if the Town of Superior had in any way informed me of or expressed the intention to claim Lots 20 and 21 as its own, I would have denied use of that property as a roadway.'" The Court found that the first statement was a "categorical" assertion of ultimate fact without supporting evidence and that a mere failure on the part of the landowner to interrupt or object to the public use cannot be equated to permissive use. Id. In the absence of other evidence of permissive use, no genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether the use was adverse. Id.