Neighbor sues supervisor candidate over property dispute

May 26, 2016
Eric Michielssen

Eric Michielssen


Eric Michielssen’s neighbor has filed a lawsuit against him, claiming that Michielssen has repeatedly trespassed and disrespected his property rights. Michielssen is currently challenging San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Debbie Arnold for the District 5 seat.

For the second time in less than 10 years, one of Michielssen’s neighbors has accused him and his family of repeatedly trespassing on private property. In addition, the lawsuit alleges Michielssen has interfered with his neighbor John Philbrick’s use of an easement used to access a hay farming operation.

For almost a century, Philbrick’s family has used an easement through a property on Parkhill Road in rural Santa Margarita, according to the lawsuit filed on May 26 by Santa Margarita based attorney Sophia Treder. In 2009, Michielssen, allegedly aware of the easement, purchased the Parkhill Road property.

In a 1923 deed, a “scrivener’s error” places the easement about 65 feet away from the driveway the Philbrick family graded decades ago. Nevertheless, a parcel map filed in 1982 corrects the previous error, according to the lawsuit.

In his claim, Philbrick says Michielssen did not contest the easement until Philbrick caught residents of Michiellssen’s family trespassing repeatedly on his property. Michielssen then asked Philbrick if his family could ride their horses on Philbricks’s land, according to the lawsuit. Philbrick denied Michielssen’s request to access his property.

Shortly afterwards, Michielssen began blocking Philbrick’s access to his easement, the lawsuit says.

Philbrick then hired a licensed surveyor who sent Michielssen a letter in Sept. 2015 saying “that the easement does exist.”

Last month, Philbrick asked Michielssen to stop blocking his easement so that he could move farming equipment up the driveway during hay season, according to an email.

On May 6, Michielssen responded to Philbrick in an email contesting the existence of Philbrick’s alleged easement, according to the email.

Before moving to rural Santa Margarita, Michielssen owned a farm in Los Osos. In 2007, Michael Morosin, a Los Osos neighbor of Michielssen’s, sued him over an issue with an easement and for repeatedly trespassing on Morosin’s property, according to the suit.

In his lawsuit, Morosin accuses Michielssen of housing farmworkers in several unpermitted structures, running an unpermitted horse boarding operation and inviting or permitting dozens of his workers and customers to trespass on Morosin’s property.

“Defendants have invited or permitted their many equestrian invitees to trespass, on horseback, onto plaintiff’s property in order to access trails and views on both plaintiff’s property and neighboring properties, subjecting plaintiff to both constant trespass and the physical damage caused by plaintiff’s trespassing horses and their riders,” according to Morosin’s 2007 suit against Michielssen.

In that case, Michielssen quickly sold the Los Osos property and the issues with trespassing stopped, Morosin said.

Michielssen did not return requests for comment.

Philbrick is seeking a quiet title ruling on the easement, a judgement barring Michielssen and his family from trespassing on Philbrick’s property, attorney’s fees, court costs and further relief, according to the May 26 lawsuit.


Case16cvpo133 by CalCoastNews

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Congratulation to The Tribune! It only took 6 days after the CCN post for the local ad manager to communicate with corporate and decide whether to give the o.k. to run the story

If I were a neighbor raising hay I’d pretty much also be po’d if horses were allowed to trample over my crop and left their stuff in it. How would you like to eat hay full of horse sh*t? Dang right.

From the pdf

“Plaintiffs are informed and believe that part of Michielssen’s farming business includes an intemship-type program, wherein individuals can come and stay at Michielssen’s farm for periods of time and learn organic farming techniques in exchange for providing labor.”

Is that even legal? Unpaid “interns”? What about minimum wage?

Actual. I know a couple of organic farms that do this, especially foreign internship’s. They get a place to stay, meals, provide working hours, get sometime off and usually do this for a couple of months. I don’t know about legal but certainly a win win for them. Liberals only like unions and munchins that can follow their instructions and allow this type of freebies of you belong to the high level shelf!