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REAL PROPERTY, Trespass/Nuisance – Property Damage due to Root Encroachment
REAL PROPERTY, Trespass/Nuisance

SETTLEMENT RESULT: $26,000 for property damage paid to Plaintiffs through Defendant’s insurer. Defendant also agreed to remove all encroaching limbs and to maintain trees and vegetation on her property so as to prevent encroachment of limits and roots onto the Guthrey property in the future. Mediator was Stephen S. Harper, Esq.

CASE: Guthrey v. Callahan, MSC09-03099

SETTLEMENT DATE: July 30, 2010

ATTORNEYS:Plaintiffs- Barri Kaplan Bonapart (Bonapart & Associates, Sausalito)
Defendant – Zachary Smith (Stratman Patterson & Hunter, Alameda)

EXPERTS: Plaintiffs: Pennie Rose, arboricultural consultant, Living Art Services, Concord, Calif.
Defendant: Dennis Yniguez, arborist, Tree Decisions, Berkeley, Calif.

FACTS & CONTENTIONS:Plaintiffs and Defendant are next door neighbors in Concord, where Defendant's property had an elm tree growing adjacent to the property line. Because of power line interference and debris and limb encroachment, the elm tree was removed in 2006, but the tree’s active root system remained. Without the tree, the roots accelerated their growth and caused damage by sprouting elm shoots throughout the Guthrey property. There was also additional vegetation growing along the shared property line, which routinely encroached beyond the fence onto the Guthrey property. It became increasingly difficult for the Guthreys to maintain the vegetation due to their advanced age.

The Guthreys’ arborist estimated the cost of removing the roots and three feet of soil and repairing plants, concrete and underground pipes in the Guthrey property at $40,503. The Guthreys sued Callahan, alleging property damage and nuisance from trees due to encroaching limbs and roots. The plaintiffs sought declaratory relief and compensatory damages resulting from the tree root nuisance and encroaching limbs.

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