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Category: Real Estate Law
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Experience:  20 years extensive experience in real estate law, foreclosure, finance, and landlord tenant law.
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I am in a dispute with Great Lakes Energy due to severe damage

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I am in a dispute with Great Lakes Energy due to severe damage to a spruce tree in my yard. The trimming have devastated the tree and they say they have a 30 foot easement to do this. I have no trespassing signs posted yet they say do not have to get permission.
If the tree dies do I have any recourse since they are the ones who damaged the tree?
Welcome! My goal is to do my very best to understand your situation and to provide a full and complete excellent answer for you.

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm going to assist you with your question.

Please bear with me if you believe my answer isn’t coming fast enough because I’m also working with other customers too. I apologize for any seemingly late response.


Sorry for your situation.


Are they correct - is the spruce tree in the Great Lakes Energy's utility easement?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


they say they have a 30 foot right of way but can not confirm

Do you have a survey of your property and a your deed to review?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


not with me

You do have them - but at home or somewhere - that you can eventually get?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


I have a title when they did the title search when I purchased the house. No survey. The home is in an association but I own my lot and home.

ve you asked the association if the Great Lakes has an easement (I'm sure they do have an easement) AND where that easement is?

That's what is critical - just where is their easement?


An easement is the right to use part of another’s property for a particular reason.

Utility companies have easements across strips of land in order to construct and maintain overhead or underground power lines. The property owner owns the land,
but the utility company has a right to enter the strip of land designated as a utility easement. Tree limbs can break during storms and take down power lines. The utility easement allows utility companies to trim trees and branches near power lines to avoid power outages.

Court's recognize the ability of a utility company to trim or remove trees within their easement as long as the work is reasonable and necessary to construct, use, ooperate, or maintain the power lines in the easement area.


In a recent MI case, the MI Supreme court confirmed that property owners have an interest in the trees on their land. However, the court also said that the prooperty owner's right to object is subordinate to the utility company's right to trim or remove the trees to keep power lines clear. The utility company can remove a tree if the removal was reasonable and necessary to construct, use, operate, or maintain it's power lines.

The utility company does not need your permission to come upon your land to maintain their lines - then can come on your land when they deem most advantageous and necessary.

So, given the law, your only option to pursue Great Lakes is if they were cutting down or trimming back your tree which WAS NOT in their easement.

So, if you can determine that the tree was not within the easement area you can sue them for the value of the tree.


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