Verdicts and Settlements
REAL PROPERTY, Nuisance – Obstruction of View
SETTLEMENT RESULT: Defendants agree to lower the height of, and maintain on an ongoing basis, three coastal redwood trees and a Blackwood Acacia which were the main subject of this dispute, at their own expense, so as to restore and preserve Plaintiff’s views. The settlement agreement contained provisions for height requirements and maintenance of all existing and future vegetation on Defendants’ property, as well as provisions for installation of vegetation for privacy screening between the two properties.
CASE: Ellison v. Von Bothmer, Case No. CGC-10-501041
SETTLEMENT DATE: May 29, 2011
ATTORNEYS: Plaintiff- Barri Kaplan Bonapart (Bonapart & Associates, Sausalito)
Defendants- Garth M. Drozin (Soltman, Levitt, Faherty & Wattles, LLP, Westlake Village)
Andrew P. Sclar, Esq. (Ericksen Arbuthnot, San Francisco)
EXPERTS: Plaintiff: James MacNair, consulting arborist, MacNair & Associates, Glen Ellen
Lou Clem, surveyor, Geometrix Surveying Engineers, San Francisco
Defendants: Roy C. Leggitt, consulting arborist, San Francisco
FACTS & CONTENTIONS: Plaintiff purchased his home in 1988, at which time he enjoyed sweeping views of the San Francisco bay. Defendants purchased a home down-slope from Plaintiff in 2004, and allowed their trees and vegetation to grow unimpeded, significantly obstructing Plaintiff’s view in violation of San Francisco Municipal Code. Plaintiff claimed that Defendants’ trees severely diminished the free use and enjoyment of his property as well as significantly reducing its economic value. Plaintiff repeatedly attempted to enter into good faith negotiations for resolution, with inadequate results. When Defendants rebuffed all attempts at negotiation and refused to mediate or arbitrate, a legal action was filed. Plaintiff sought Injunctive and Declaratory Relief requiring Defendants to comply with San Francisco Municipal Code, and to either remove the trees or lower and maintain their height in order to restore and preserve views he had once enjoyed. Plaintiff and Defendants came to an agreement in mediation.