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ScottyMacESQ, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 17078
Experience:  Licensed General Practice Attorney, Texas
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I have a neighbor that shares a driveway with me that allows

Customer Question

I have a neighbor that shares a driveway with me that allows him a 10ft easement, which is the width of the driveway. He has contractors & sub contractors doing projects at his home all the time. They have made depth tire tracts into the grass some 1 to 2 feet off of the driveway. My neighbor stated his 500 dollar an hour lawyer stated he is not responsible & I have to sue his contractors myself. Is this true
JA: Because real estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: North Carolina in Union county
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: No. I have tried to workout the issue as neighbors.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Yes, his handyman dropped dirt/manure for the garden last Thursday on the driveway. We asked him to clean it up via text. He stated he does not have to but he will as a courteous but it would not be done until Monday. I got mad so I placed some horse manure on the shared driveway. He called the police and they stated it's a civil matter. We are both wrong at how it was handled but if he bring's a civil suit how would the courts view it?
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  ScottyMacESQ replied 5 months ago.

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I'm sorry to hear about your situation. Please give me a few minutes to respond.

Expert:  ScottyMacESQ replied 5 months ago.

It's true that this is a civil matter, and the police were right to refuse to get involved. As far as liability is concerned, in North Carolina “Generally, one who employs an independent contractor is not liable for the independent contractor's negligence․”  Woodson v. Rowland, 329 N.C. 330, 350, 407 S.E.2d 222, 234 (1991).   However, if the work to be performed by the independent contractor is either (1) ultrahazardous or (2) inherently dangerous, and the employer either knows or should have known that the work is of that type, liability may attach despite the independent contractor status.   Id. at 350-51, 356, 407 S.E.2d at 234, 238.   This is because, in those two areas, the employer has a non-delegable duty for the safety of others.   Canady v. McLeod, 116 N.C.App. 82, 88, 446 S.E.2d 879, 883, disc. review denied, 338 N.C. 308, 451 S.E.2d 632 (1994).

Dumping of fertilizer, making tire tracks, etc..., while awful, are not inherently dangerous or ultra-hazardous, and under NC law, the landowner / employer doesn't have the liability for the contractor's negligence, I'm sorry to say. There's no "vicarious liability" that would be imputed to the landowner in this regard. You'd have to show that the owner actually did something negligent, that was foreseeable beforehand, that actually caused the harm. Negligent hiring would not work unless you could show that the same type of harm had occurred before AND the owner knew or should have known of that probability of harm. So unfortunately I don't think that you would have a case against your neighbor, but only against the contractors.

I know this is probably not what you wanted to hear, but it is the law. I hope that clears things up anyway. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable.

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