The difference between private easements and public easements is simply who benefits. Private easements grant specific persons the right to use another person’s land for a particular person. Public easements grant this right to the general public.
An example of a public easement is the right to use public streets and highways. Public easements are usually expressly granted, but several states, such as California and New Mexico, recognize public easements through implied grants or by prescription.
In some cases, the government will require people to open up a part of their land for public use. An example of this is a requirement that the owner of a beachfront lot allow access to a public beach through his lot. This requirement may constitute a taking under the government’s eminent domain powers. If this is the case, the Constitution requires compensation for the easement.
The laws regarding easements and eminent domain can differ from state to state and be very complex. An experience real property lawyer can review the easement and advise you of your rights and remedies. A real property attorney can also represent you in court.