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Damien Bosco
Damien Bosco, Attorney
Category: Real Estate Law
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As part of a surface water "improvement" the city of Tulsa

Customer Question

As part of a surface water "improvement" the city of Tulsa excavated and paved a ditch running along my yard. Cutting tree roots right up to the trunks of several trees, which have now died. Who is responsible for removing these now dead trees and can I be financially compensated for their loss?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Damien Bosco replied 9 months ago.

Hello. My name is***** am an attorney. I will review your question. I may need to clarify facts first. I will answer & we can discuss issues.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Expert:  Damien Bosco replied 9 months ago.

Towns and utility's typically have the right to cut, remove & trim all vegetation up to a certain amount of feet from the street without permission. However, generally, the town would be responsible for the removal of the vegetation. Here, the city cut the tree roots. Whether there was an easement or right of way to the property is the first question. If the city had the right to cut trees (or roots), it is arguable they would be responsible to remove the debris and dead trees. In other words, if there were trees right in the way and the city removed them (and effectively paid for them), then the same is true of the roots. We can discuss more if you would like to do so.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
The trees are probably not on the easement just their roots. You are saying that arguably the city should be responsible for removing any vegetation debris from the drainage "improvement"? What about replacement cost compensation for killing these trees (60+ year old oaks)?
Expert:  Damien Bosco replied 9 months ago.

If the cutting of the roots was indiscriminate without thought and no consideration of the health and safety of the tree when cutting roots, then the entity or person who cut the roots could be found liable. In other words, if it was not necessary and/or there was a way to get around the roots, or it was blatantly conducted, then there is a possible claim for damages. We can discuss more if you would like to do so.

Expert:  Damien Bosco replied 9 months ago.

Hello Beth! Checking in to see if you need further help. Your satisfaction is my goal, and I'm happy to answer a related follow-up question you may have. If I have not answered your question completely or missed a question, please let me know and I will attempt to answer it. If you are satisfied with your answer, please provide a positive rating between 3 and 5 stars. Best regards.