from the District Court of McKenzie County, Northwest
Judicial District, the Honorable Robin A. Schmidt, Judge.
A. Swanson,, for plaintiffs and appellants.
J. Forster (argued), Benjamin J. Sand (appeared) and Brian R.
Bjella (on brief), for defendant and appellee Tesoro
K. Porsborg (argued) and Preston J. Wise (on brief), for
defendant and appellee McKenzie County.
1] David and Virginia Ceynar appeal from a summary judgment
in favor of Tesoro Logistics LP and McKenzie County. The
Ceynars argue the district court erred in holding that the
lane was a "public highway" within the scope of the
easement and that Tesoro Logistics and McKenzie County did
not need permission to build a lane on their property. We
affirm the district court's judgment in favor of Tesoro
and McKenzie County.
2] The Ceynars own property along a section line highway in
McKenzie County. In 1982 the Ceynars' predecessor in
interest granted an easement to McKenzie County. The easement
provides: "It is understood that the said land is hereby
granted and conveyed for highway purposes to the use of said
McKenzie County so long as the above described premises are
used for a public highway." The easement expands the
statutory easement from 33 feet to 75 feet from the
centerline. Tesoro operates the Blue Buttes Station oil-truck
offloading facility along the highway near the Ceynars'
property. According to Tesoro employee, James Sanford, the
County approached Tesoro regarding a safety issue caused by
trucks backed up on the highway waiting to deliver crude oil
to Blue Buttes Station.
3] According to Virginia Ceynar, Tesoro approached them about
obtaining a right-of-way on their property to construct a
lane to Blue Buttes Station. She said Tesoro asked if they
were interested in selling property to Tesoro for the lane.
Virginia Ceynar alleged Tesoro offered to buy their property
but they refused because the price was too low. Tesoro denies
offering to buy the Ceynars' property. Following the
alleged offer the Ceynars had no other communications with
4] According to Sanford the County found a solution to the
perceived safety issue when it discovered it owned an
easement over the Ceynars' property large enough to
expand the road. Tesoro and the County agreed to
"[c]onstruct a truck parking lane" on the
Ceynars' property. The agreement provided that Tesoro
would make a one-time payment of $67, 851.70 to the County
for construction of the lane. Tesoro further agreed to not
use the "parking lane as a permanent parking or storage
area but solely for purposes of temporary truck parking
during times of delayed access to the Blue Butte Station for
loading and unloading operations." According to Virginia
Ceynar, she discovered the lane was being constructed on
their property when she was out checking on their crops.
5] McKenzie County Road Superintendent, Michael Dollinger,
contends that the lane is public property and Tesoro does not
have an exclusive right to use it. Tesoro employee, Michael
Blanco, explained that Tesoro does not use the lane for
long-term or overnight parking but uses the lane as an exit
from the highway to Blue Buttes Station and occasionally for
temporary parking if there is a wait to access the station.
According to Blanco, drivers who temporarily park on the lane
are required to stay in their vehicle with the engine idling.
6] After the construction and use of the lane, the Ceynars
sued Tesoro and the County alleging trespass and nuisance and
requesting declaratory relief. The Ceynars moved for summary
judgment, arguing Tesoro and the County's use of the lane
exceeds the scope of the 1982 easement. Tesoro and the County
filed cross-motions for summary judgment. The district court
granted summary judgment in favor of Tesoro and the County
and dismissed the Ceynars' claims with prejudice. The
7] This Court's review of summary judgment ...