Originally Posted by Leah Frances
Nap - the unhelpful but honest answer is 'open and notorious' is whatever the judge you are in front of on that particular day says it is. Corollary to this is the determination of what the judge had for breakfast.
OP has been put on notice somehow - or we wouldn't hear about it until after he cut the lines. Knowledge of covert or hard to determine use (like being 6 inches over the property line) makes it open use.
If OP is just now finding out, then he can make some legal arguments that might change the tolling of the statutory time limits. But if that is the case then he has to take action to stop the use. Hence, he should talk to an attorney.
Prescriptive easements are actually very hard to earn - lots of legal hoops must be jumped through. So it's possible the neighbor may have no rights.
It's time to spend some money talking to an attorney.
Or go to the neighbor and say "Look I need to dig here for <x> reason and the line you put on my property without my consent is going to have to move. If you don't want to move it off my property then I will start the legal process. I would like to avoid that, but if you require it, then that is the path we will go. Of course the longer this situation goes, the more damages will occur to me and I will be forced to add those into the lawsuit along with any punitive damages that my attorney and I calculate."
Maybe the threat of an attorney will get the wheels moving with the neighbor and the OP wont have to spend anything.