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Woman sues JEA over easement issue

6:55 PM, Feb 15, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Eva Bowen is suing the JEA again, this time in federal court. Bowen said she wants to enjoy her property and live in peace. 

On January 26, 2010 Bowen purchased an acre and a half on Black Hammock Island. She said when she realized JEA's utility pole was on her property, she wanted to know why. There was no recorded easement.

"JEA did not have a valid easement," said Bowen.

She also claims that the JEA was billing her for the service to another pole, which is also on her property. It has a security light and she said the pole is not hers.

"When the bill was $8.45, I said please stop charging me for the electricity, it is not my pole it is not my electricity," said Bowen. 

Bowen said she's been fighting the JEA since she discovered there's no recorded easement. 

"I talked to them," she said, "I went to the JEA board of directors begging them for help."

Bowen's corporation first filed suit in state courts. She lost and is appealing the decision. She has decided to escalate her complaint in federal court.

"I have been deprived a simple right to voice my complaint," she said.

Bowen said she wants the JEA to right what she claims is a wrong.

"I would like both poles, the neighbor's area light, to be removed," said Bowen. "I would like the main pole that provides electricity on my property to be removed."

Bowen said when she purchased the property, she saw the poles but her title search showed no recorded easement and she believes that gives her good reason for wanting them gone. 

"No person should be deprived of their constitutional rights," said Bowen.

She knows her fight against the JEA is an uphill battle, but she said  she's determined.

"I cannot live with the fact that there's a group of government people in our city who has so much power," said Bowen, "so much authority that they could take my rights away from me that's what the case is about."

The city's Office of General Counsel declined comment on the pending lawsuit, but will file a motion to have it dismissed.

Much of the city's position is based on a summary judgment in favor of the JEA in the state court.

The judge ruled, "the prior owner of the property had granted an easement to the JEA to install, access and maintain the electric utility poles on the property."

Judge Waddell Wallace added, "Public policy disfavors the extinguishment of an easement utilized for public purposes simply because it is unrecorded."

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