Neighbor next to an HOA community says his property was damaged by trees.
- Case Name: Parks v. Pettigrew, et al.
- Court and Case Number: Alameda County Superior Court, Case No. RG16824876
- Date of Verdict or Judgment: Monday, August 15, 2022
- Date Action was Filed: Monday, July 25, 2016
- Type of Case: Declaratory Relief, Nuisance, Private
- Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Richard Seabolt
Plaintiffs: John D. Parks
Defendants: Stuart PettigrewGael JanofskyFarooq KahnDominique Lambert-BlumCarlon TannerTemescal Lofts Homeowners' Association
- Type of Result: Jury Verdict
- Gross Verdict or Award: Defendants awarded $20,045.80 in costs.
Award as to each Defendant:
- Jury Deliberation Time: 12 hours
- Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: Plaintiff's motion for new trial denied. Plaintiff's motion for JNOV denied. Defendants' motion to be deemed the prevailing party and award of costs granted.
Attorney for the Plaintiff:
Law Office of Cynthia A. Browning by Cynthia Browning, Oakland.
Attorney for the Defendant:
Bledsoe, Diestel, Treppa & Crane LLP by James M. Treppa and Holly A. Graves, San Francisco.
Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):
Alexandra Clarfield, Ph.D., psychology.
Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):
Joseph McNeil, Arborist and tree care
Phillip Dregger, roofing.
Defendant's Technical Expert(s):
Ray Moritz, Arborist and tree care
David Tognela, construction.
Steve Cadet, roofing.
Facts and Background
Facts and Background:
Plaintiff alleged causes of action for trespass and nuisance against defendants stemming from trees on defendants’ property. The dispute began in 2009 and continued until 2016, when this lawsuit was filed.
The trees in dispute were initially tipuana tipu trees, which were tall and overhung plaintiff’s property and were removed entirely in or around November 2018. Plaintiff complained the tipu trees dropped leaves and debris on his property, including roof. He alleged the debris/leaves on the roof caused damage and water intrusion by clogging the drainage spots and allowing water pooling. Defense experts inspected the property and opined the roof was poorly installed, maintained, and repaired and the deferred maintenance was the cause of any roof drainage issues and water intrusion. A photo was shown with water pooling on the roof in 2020, two years after the tipu trees were removed. Then the dispute turned to water gum trees which are shorter trees along the fence line and were removed entirely in March 2022. Plaintiff complained the water gum trees dropped debris over the fence line onto his grounds.
That defendants’ trees dropped leaves and debris onto his real and personal property, depriving him of the use and enjoyment of the same. That tree debris caused leaks in his roof and damage inside his home and damage to his driveway, requiring repair to the interior and exterior of the home. Plaintiff further alleged emotional damages and punitive damages as a result of defendants’ conduct and failure to maintain the trees.
Defendants denied liability for plaintiff’s alleged damages, asserting they properly maintained the trees under expert guidance, attempted to address plaintiff’s complaints, and asserted plaintiff’s deferred maintenance to his home caused the damage, if any, to his real property.
Ultimately, defendants removed all “offending” trees from their property prior to trial.
Demands and Offers
- Plaintiff §998 Demand: $20,000 in January 2020 and later one for $102,000.