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What Happens if My Neighbor’s Tree Falls on My Property?

08 Oct

Hugh Fitzpatrick from Fitzpatrick Law & Associates answers a viewer’s question on what to do if your neighbor’s tree falls on your property/does damage to your property and I thought it was worth sharing! Visit them at www.newenglandtitleandescrow.com

5 distinct cases in Massachusetts that involve trees:

1. Glavin v. Eckman (2008)
On Martha’s Vineyard, a couple had their contractor cut down ten mature trees in their neighbor’s yard to improve their view of the ocean. The neighbor sued, and the judge awarded the wronged property owner $30,000 to replace the trees, rather than award the value of the timber and the reduction of the property value.
2. Jones v. Town of Great Barrington (1930)
A man in Great Barrington notified the town that a tree near his property was rotting away. The town took no action in taking the tree down. The tree ended up falling and injuring the man, who filed a lawsuit against the town. Since the town was found to be responsible for the care of the tree, they had to pay for the man’s medical expenses.
3. Kurtigan v. City of Worcester (1965)
In the city of Worcester, a man refused to pay his property taxes, so the city acquired his house and his land. The limbs of a dead tree fell and caused damage, so the city was held liable for all damages.
4. Michalson v. Nutting (1931)
A case in Worcester County changed the law in regards to roots on neighboring properties. The owner of a tree is not responsible for the damage it’s roots cause to a neighboring property, but the neighbor does have the right to cut the intruding roots.
5. Ponte v. DaSilva (1983)
In New Bedford, it was determined that if a landowner fails to prevent the blowing or dropping of leaves from a healthy tree onto a neighbor’s property, it cannot be the basis for a finding of negligence. This law also includes the blowing or dropping of branches and sap.
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