Question: The Friersons have a two story building in Easley South Carolina
The Friersons have a two-story building in Easley, South Carolina, that shares a common wall with an adjacent two-story building owned by David and Patricia Watson. An outdoor stairway located on the Watsons’ property provides access to the second floor of both buildings. A dispute arose when David Watson began to construct apartments on the second floor of his building and proposed to close off a connecting indoor hallway between the two properties at the top of the stairs located inside the building. The Friersons maintained that they had an easement to use both the outdoor stairway and the indoor hallway for access. The Friersons’ predecessors-in-interest, E. C., E. O., and D. M. Frierson, purchased the building in 1929 from the “Estate of R. F. Smith, Inc.” The 1929 deed, dated January 14 and recorded on January 23, expressly conveyed “an easement in a certain four foot stairway in the back of the building, with right of ingress and egress on said stairway to the second story of said building.” On January 21, 1929, two days before the deed was recorded, the parties to the sale executed a “Memorandum of Agreement” that granted an easement for the use of the hallway. The memo was not recorded. The Friersons brought suit to stop Watson’s construction. The Friersons claimed Watson’s construction violated their easement by eliminating the hallway, which denied them access to the second floor of their building. The circuit court determined that the Friersons had established an easement for use of the hallway by grant and by prescription and granted the Friersons’ motion. David Watson appealed. Who is correct on this easement issue? Explain why. [Frierson v. Watson, 636 S.E. 2d 872 (S.C. App.)]
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