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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
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Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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who is responcible for a failing retaining wall between owners

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who is responcible for a failing retaining wall between owners with a sharp drop in elevation between the upper and lower property owners in chevy chase maryland?
This is in a building?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
this is the side property hill side within 25 feet of the house on the lower lot
Your previous expert asked me to assist. If this retaining wall was built to keep the upper level property from falling onto the lower level property, then the owner of the upper level property is liable to maintain that retaining wall to prevent his property from damaging the lower level property.

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Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Hi, do you have a case site or statute site? your answer sounds correct. The upper property added a wing to their house very close to the top of the verticle"hill side' in the last few years adding weight near the retaining wall.
There is no statutory law, MD follows the common law on property whereby the upper land owner is responsible for preventing his property from harming the property of the lower land owner and since his house on the property has caused the verticle slide and pushed the retaining wall, as the upper landowner, they are responsible. This is just a common law rule.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Is the common law written down anywhere that can be read on line?

Common law rule, and I know it is a WVa case, but it is the rule applied all over and one that is cited in all of the property law text books, is that removal of lateral/subjacent support results in strict liability in the remover.

- Noone v. Price 171 W.Va. 185, 188, 298 S.E.2d 218, 221 (1982) : Where Price did not maintain the retaining wall on Price’s property, damage to Noone’s house up the hill; Held: if Noones can show that disrepair of the retaining wall would have led ineluctably to subsidence of their land in its natural condition, can recover on strict liability.

o (Obligation is not to leave the land alone but to not interrupt support that was already there).

o Does not matter which of two houses built first, duty is to preserve soil in natural state

o Analogous to many torts = have to pay for harm caused, even if the harm is not directly tied to what was done wrong.

o In removing land, there is a requirement to act reasonably (if RHH digs next to Sears Tower and it falls over, would be liable for negligence even if preserving land in natural state

Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 110415
Experience: JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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