How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask ScottyMacESQ Your Own Question

ScottyMacESQ
ScottyMacESQ, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 11213
Experience:  Licensed General Practice Attorney, Texas
Type Your Real Estate Law Question Here...
ScottyMacESQ is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have a bamboo tree in my yard- about 10-12 years old. It

Resolved Question:

I have a bamboo tree in my yard- about 10-12 years old. It is an invasive type. I didn't realize this when I planted it- wasn't supposed to survive our MI winters. My neighbors are complaining it is growing in their yard. I did put a barrier up soon after planting it; but bamboo can grow around and under it. Can they take any legal action? I am going to have to cut it down. They are afraid their nephew might hurt himself on the growing stalks. They are soft when starting out and can be squashed. Neighbors are just aggravated by it. I can understand. Thank you.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  ScottyMacESQ replied 1 year ago.

ScottyMacESQ :

Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am researching your issue and will respond shortly.

ScottyMacESQ :

While they can take legal action against you, that doesn't mean that they can win. Anyone can sue anyone for anything. A lawsuit is merely a legal complaint. It does not require that the person be right when the suit is filed. That is what the judges are for: making determinations of law.

ScottyMacESQ :

It's possible that you could be liable for any actual damage that occurs. That is, if it ruins foundations, driveways, etc... of a neighbor, that could be encroachment that would make you liable. But you're not liable for potential harm.

ScottyMacESQ :

So while they can take you to court for bamboo that "may" hurt their child, that case would not be "ripe" (that is, they would not have a recognizable claim just yet, because they could not show actual damages.)

ScottyMacESQ :

Now if there's a city ordinance or HOA bylaw, or covenant, regarding these types of plants, they can take action based upon that.

ScottyMacESQ :

(without the need to show harm)

ScottyMacESQ :

But assuming that there is not, then they can't successfully sue you unless they can show actual, quantifiable and calculable harm.

ScottyMacESQ :

Hope that clears things up a bit. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX luck to you!

ScottyMacESQ :

Did you have any other questions before you rate this answer?

Customer:

Hi. I will go to city hall to check if there's a bylaw. Could my neighbors say the nephew was hurt by these stalks; just to prove a point? i've noticed in the past ; they can be negligent on watching small kids in their yard. My opinion.

ScottyMacESQ :

They could say that he was hurt, but without proof as to the harm (pictures, doctors bills, etc...) it wouldn't be actionable (successfully)

ScottyMacESQ :

Again, they have to prove, quantifiably, the harm that was suffered. If the harm is not quantifiable and/or only "possible" (contingent) then it's not yet actionable, in that the case is not yet "ripe"

ScottyMacESQ :

Did you have any other questions before you rate this answer?

ScottyMacESQ :

Should I continue to await your response, or may I assist the other customers that are waiting?

Customer:

What do you mea "ripe"?

ScottyMacESQ :

 


I mean that to be able to sue you, they need to show that there's harm.


 

ScottyMacESQ :

They can't say that it "could" happen.

ScottyMacESQ :

They need to show that it has happened.

ScottyMacESQ :

And even then they would need to prove the harm that has occurred.

ScottyMacESQ :

"Ripeness" means that a case is ready to be heard. If there's no harm (yet) then the case is not "ripe".

Customer:

How could they prove it was the bamboo; and not other objects in their yard?

ScottyMacESQ :

I don't know. And that would be their burden of proof. You could certainly bring that up as a defense (that it was something else) but they ultimately would have to prove that it was the bamboo that caused the harm,.

ScottyMacESQ :

I hope that clears things up a bit. If there's nothing else, please rate this answer. Please note that I don't get any credit for the time and effort that I spent on this answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX luck to you!

Customer:

OK. What about it being in their yard; they are responsible to take care of it. Just like if a tree; shrub is hanging over; they can cut down any part hanging over their property.

ScottyMacESQ :

Yes, they can absolutely maintain it. But to the extent that the tree would have limbs fall on their property, you could be liable if you knew of the probability of that happening...

ScottyMacESQ :

They can remove the bamboo (or tree limbs, in a tree situation) but encroachment (particularly of roots, etc...) can still have liability on you if there's damage.

Customer:

I guess there is damage to their grass. Just that it is growing in their yard. What about the lilac stalks growing in my yard; from their tree? I hate this pettiness; but need to be civil with neighbors.

ScottyMacESQ :

I understand. Same thing applies... if there is damage, there could be action. Damage to grass is not "actionable", really, as it's not quantifiable.

Customer:

What do you mean quantifiable?

ScottyMacESQ :

Again, provable to a specific dollar figure. They can claim that they were "harmed" but when they ask for something, they need to prove that they're entitled to it.

ScottyMacESQ :

That is, they can ask for $10,000, but they would need to prove that they've been damaged $10,000.

ScottyMacESQ :

It needs to be quantified.

Customer:

Seems like to keep the peace; I need to get rid of it.

ScottyMacESQ :

I would. It's possible that some harm could happen, and in that situation, you could be liable (because it could then be proven)

Customer:

If I do cut it down; it's possible the growth could still continue in their yard; from the rhyzomes. Can they still sue; if I've taken every effort to get rid of it in my yard?

ScottyMacESQ :

It's possible, but if you've taken reasonable steps to mitigate the loss, it would be more difficult for them to sue successfully, because it would be harder for them to show negligence.

Customer:

This would be a small claims case?

ScottyMacESQ :

Most likely, if the amount claimed is under $5000.

Customer:

If it is over 5,000; then what type?

ScottyMacESQ :

Regular court.

ScottyMacESQ :

A court of general jurisdiction, that is, which requires a higher degree of evidence, procedure, and pleading.

Customer:

I should take photos?

ScottyMacESQ :

It would be a good idea to document the situation, should the need arise to prove it in the future.

Customer:

OK. Thanks so much for your advice. Interesting conversation.

ScottyMacESQ :

My pleasure. If there's nothing else, please rate this answer. Please note that I don't get any credit for the time (~ 45 minutes) and effort that I spent on this answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). If you feel that I have gone above and beyond in this answer (my average answer is about 10 minutes) bonuses are greatly appreciated. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX luck to you!

Customer:

Thank you Scott.

ScottyMacESQ :

You're welcome, and again, good luck to you!

ScottyMacESQ :

Was there anything else before you rate this answer?

ScottyMacESQ :

It's vital that you rate it so that I get credit for the time that I spent with you today.

ScottyMacESQ :

(and I can't assist any other customers while I am with you...)

ScottyMacESQ :

Are you there? Please note that I am still here, awaiting your response.

ScottyMacESQ :

▼ RATING REQUIRED! ▼ Please don't forget to Rate my service as OK Service or higher. It's only then I am credited and this question is closed out.

ScottyMacESQ :

Please respond. I am patiently waiting, but there are other customers that are awaiting an answer to their questions, and I only get credit for questions answered AND rated, not how long I spend on a question. I do not get paid for ANY time that I spent with you today if you don't rate this OK or higher.

ScottyMacESQ :

Should I continue to await your response, or may I assist the other customers that are waiting?

Customer:

I'm new to this. Sorry. How do I get a printout of this conversation?

ScottyMacESQ :

After you rate this answer, it will switch to a Q&A format (you may need to refresh the page after rating) at which point you'll be able to print this information.

Customer:

I rated it already; but I'll try it again

ScottyMacESQ :

Thank you. For whatever reason it did not register the first time. Again, once you click the rating button, If you feel that I have gone above and beyond in this answer (my average answer is about 10 minutes, and I was with you for about an hour) bonuses are greatly appreciated. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX luck to you!

ScottyMacESQ, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 11213
Experience: Licensed General Practice Attorney, Texas
ScottyMacESQ and 3 other Real Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
< Last | Next >
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
  • It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem. Tony Apopka, FL
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Tina

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    4813
    16 years of legal experience including real estate law.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MU/multistatelaw/2011-11-27_173951_Tinaglamourshotworkglow102011.64x64.jpg Tina's Avatar

    Tina

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    4813
    16 years of legal experience including real estate law.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/LA/lawpro/2012-6-25_171315_PT206740s.64x64.jpg Law Pro's Avatar

    Law Pro

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    6227
    20 years extensive experience in real estate law, foreclosure, finance, and landlord tenant law.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BA/barristerinky/2012-6-10_22423_office.64x64.jpg Barrister's Avatar

    Barrister

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    4966
    13 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 24+ years
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/LA/LawTalk/2012-6-6_17379_LawTalk.64x64.JPG LawTalk's Avatar

    LawTalk

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    4446
    I've more than 27 years legal experience. Additionally, in CA I held a Real Estate Broker's license.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RA/rayanswers/2012-6-7_23346_Untitled1.64x64.jpg Ray's Avatar

    Ray

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    4030
    Texas Attorney for 29 years dealing in real estate
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PH/philip.simmons/2012-6-7_161915_BIGPhilipSimmons.64x64.jpg P. Simmons's Avatar

    P. Simmons

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    2377
    12+ yrs. of experience including real estate law.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/mnphillips2/2009-03-13_203105_10984459-249293407.jpeg Phillips Esq.'s Avatar

    Phillips Esq.

    Attorney-at-Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    2355
    B.A.; M.B.A.; J.D.