Heard: October 11, 2018.
action commenced in the Superior Court Department on June 2,
seeking injunctive relief was considered by D. Lloyd
Macdonald, J., on a motion for partial summary judgment, and
the remaining counts were heard by Douglas H. Wilkins, J.
B. Chaffin for the defendants.
William F. Spallina (Mark B. Johnson also present) for the
Present: Henry, Shin, & Singh, JJ.
dispute between two condominium unit owners requires us to
determine whether a condominium master deed contains an
express easement permitting one unit owner to enjoy an
easement through another owner's unit to gain access to a
fire escape. Because we conclude that it does not, we also
must determine whether one unit owner can enjoy an easement
by necessity through another owner's unit for the same
purpose. We conclude that an easement by necessity does not
arise under these circumstances. Accordingly, we reverse.
summarize the undisputed facts material to this appeal. The
plaintiffs, Walter Chamberlain and Yin Kau Ho, as cotrustees
of the Walter Chamberlain Revocable Trust (trustees), and
defendant Byblos Investments International, LLC (Byblos),
each own units in a condominium located at 549-551 Boylston
Street in Copley Square in the city of Boston. Walter
Chamberlain, individually, originally held a commercial lease
for unit 201 commencing November 1, 1993. In August of 1998,
the owner of the building, Molded Antennas for
Telecommunications, Inc. (MAT), converted the building to a
five-unit condominium and executed and recorded a master
deed. MAT sold unit 201 to Walter Chamberlain on October 1,
1998. MAT sold unit 101 to Byblos on March
7, 2008. Byblos leases unit 101 to Wendy's Old Fashioned
Hamburgers of New York, Inc. (Wendy's).
101 is comprised of 1, 025 square feet in the basement, 1,
900 square feet on the ground floor, 1, 725 square feet on
the first floor (also referred to as the mezzanine), and 1,
100 square feet on the second floor at the rear of the
building. Wendy's uses this second floor
space as a mechanical room. Unit 201 is on the front of the
building facing Copley Square and contains 825 square feet on
the second floor. There is a stairway leading to a landing on
the second floor, which is located between unit 201 and the
second-floor portion of unit 101.
master deed defines the units, and then defines the
condominium common areas, expressly stating that the common
areas are "the entire property . . . other than the
Units." The master deed grants to units 201, 301, 401,
and 501 the "exclusive right and easement ... to
use" certain specific areas, including the fire escape
"Certain Units shall have the exclusive right and
easement to use certain of the common areas and facilities as
set forth below;
"(b) Units 201, 301, 401 and 501 are granted the
exclusive right and easement ... to use the elevator
adjoining the foyer, the main stair leading to the fifth
floor, and the fire escape stairs located on the Building for
the purpose of providing access and emergency egress to such
Units, and shown on the plans as the 'Unit 201, 301, 401
and 501 Exclusive Use Areas' all subject to the
obligations and restrictions contained in this Master Deed,
the By-Laws, the Rules and Regulations of the Condominium
Trust, and Chapter 183A."
fire escape stairs are attached to the rear exterior wall of
the building. The second-floor portion of unit 101 lies
between unit 201 and the fire escape; thus, from the second
floor, the fire escape stairs are ...