In a recent case, the Massachusetts Appeals Court affirmed a Land Court decision holding that plaintiffs hold easement rights to access and use a beach in Hingham Harbor close to the parties' homes. Kane v. Martel, 92 Mass. App. Ct. 1130, at *1 (2018). Litigation between the neighbors over beach rights had been ongoing for more than a decade when the Appeals Court rendered its decision on March 5, 2018, a fact representative of the often bitter and protracted nature of disputes over beach access between neighbors living on the water in Cape Cod and other Massachusetts vacation destinations.
In a recent decision handed down in January 2014, the Supreme Judicial Court (the "SJC") has expanded on its well-known holding in M.P.M Builders, LLC v. Dwyer, 442 Mass. 87 (2004), to decide that an owner of registered land burdened by an easement can modify the dimensions of the way over his land "so long as the purposes for which the easement was created are not frustrated, and the utility of the easement is not lessened."