CHARLES W. COOK, LEVI WATSON, JESSICA WATSON, JOE BLAIR ROWTON, JAMIE LOUIS ROWTON, AND CHARLES TOWNSEND, Appellants
RONEN NISSIMOV, NATALIA NISSIMOV, AND BRIAN BLALOCK, Appellees
Appeal from the 12th District Court Grimes County, Texas
Trial Court Cause No. 33, 436
consists of Chief Justice Frost and Justices Bourliot and
Margaret "Meg" Poissant Justice.
Charles W. Cook, Levi Watson, Jessica Watson, Joe Blair
Rowton, Jamie Louis Rowton, and Charles Townsend appeal from
the trial court's orders denying their motion for summary
judgment and granting summary judgment in favor of appellees
Ronen Nissimov, Natalia Nissimov, and Brian Blalock. We
dispute centers on the rights to use a roadway easement
through a gated subdivision known as Tierra Buena - North
("the Subdivision"). A rough sketch below shows the
Subdivision, the Northern Lots, and the Access Easement.
The Access Easement
2009, appellant Charles Cook and the Bousquet Family Limited
Partnership entered into an agreement with Ralph McKnight
regarding a 130-acre tract in Grimes County known at the time
as "Stagecoach Crossing."  This 130-acre tract would
later be subdivided and would become the Tierra Buena North
Subdivision at the center of this dispute. McKnight owned a
non-exclusive right to a 60-foot easement ("Access
Easement") that could be used to access the Subdivision.
McKnight assigned to Cook, his heirs and assigns, the
non-exclusive right to use the easement. The agreement noted
that Cook owned an additional 450 acres adjoining and to the
north of the Subdivision's 130 acres. With regard to the
additional land, the agreement stated that, "In the
event that Cook decides to subdivide this 450 acres, or any
part thereof, and to use the aforementioned easement for
access to said 450 acre tract, Cook agrees to impose the
minimum deed restrictions . . . of [the Subdivision]."
The Subdivision Lots
subdivided the 130 acres and sold the lots in the
Subdivision. Blalock and the Nissimovs were two of the
buyers. The deeds conveyed:
Tract EIGHT (8),  TIERRA BUENA NORTH, a subdivision in
Grimes County, Texas according to the plat thereof recorded
in Vol. 1318, page 747, Real Property Records of Grimes
County, Texas; together with rights of ingress and egress
over and across the roadway easement described in the
Agreement dated March 31, 2009, executed by and between
Charles W. Cook, Thomas G. Bousquet, The Bousquet Family
Limited Partnership, LTD and Ralph McKnight, recorded in Vol.
1300, page 89, Real Property Records, Grimes County, Texas.
deed contained the following "Exceptions to Conveyance
a) Validly existing easements, rights-of-way, and
prescriptive rights, whether of record or not;
c) Those building lines and easements reflected on the Plat
of TIERRA BUENA NORTH filed in Vol. 1318, Page 747, of the
Real Property Records of Grimes County, Texas.
The Northern Lots
Cook sold lots to appellees in the Subdivision, he subdivided
the 450-acre northern property and sold unplatted lots north
of the Subdivision ("Northern Lots"). Cook sold
lots to appellants Levi Watson, Jessica Watson, Joe Blair
Rowton, Jamie Louis Rowton, and Charles Townsend. When Cook
sold those lots he purported to grant access to the lots
across the Subdivision using the 60-foot Access Easement.
sale of the Northern Lots and grant of access across the
Access Easement led to the probability that the purchasers of
the Northern Lots would be granted access to the private
gated subdivision. Cook understood that he could grant access
to the easement as long as the deed restrictions on the
Northern Lots were the same or similar to those on the