Nationally recognized tree law expert Victor D. Merullo has compiled a thorough and comprehensive selection of case law outlining crucial tree law issues illustrative of the various concepts of arboricultural law as addressed by California courts. Since, California’s judicial system is based upon the ideal of following precedent, knowing the outcome of prior decisions will help anyone to know their rights. These important arboricultural cases have been boiled down into simple, straight forward summaries allowing the reader to easily understand the issues and potential legal consequences related to tree law, neighbor law, and arboricultural law; saving an individual and businesses time, money, and headache.
Maintaining a good relationship with a neighboring property owner can often be a challenging task under normal circumstances. However, add the existence of a tree located on the boundary line of the properties and the situation can quickly become more complicated. Often, an issue will arise when one property owner seeks to trim, cut, or altogether remove a boundary line tree without the consent or against the wishes of the other neighbor. With this in mind, it is important to understand the rights of both parties when such a situation arises. Case law summaries will help property owners gain an understanding of one's rights with regards to trees that encroach from an adjoining property. Frequently, such encroachment comes in the form of limbs and/or roots that spread beyond the boundary line of the property upon which the trunk of the tree resides. Having a tree located on your property can expose a property owner to possible claims of negligence from outside parties. Often, such litigation is the result of bodily harm and/or property damage. This is why it is important for those whom own, interact, or are accountable for the care of trees to fully understand what duties are expected of them by law, so, they can avoid being found negligent if a claim does arise.
Each case is categorized and summarized in an easy to understand format that provides for quick comprehension of how California courts have ruled on the selected topic. Cases of interest include: rights and liabilities of adjoining landowners (encroachment/boundary disputes, trespass), damages, negligence, real estate transfers, recreational user, timber, trees & roadways, rights and liabilities of utility companies, utility easements and the rights of utilities to maintain trees on easements from private landowners. Obtaining easements has always been a necessity for utility companies since it is not realistic that they purchase all of the property necessary to provide for the transmission of their respective product. Quite often utility companies are required to trim, cut, and remove trees that pose risks to the transmission of their respective product. However, since utilities rely on easements from private landowners, issues can often arise over whether a trimmed tree posed any harm or whether the easement itself provided the utility the right to trim a tree in the first place. Because utilities often rely on easements to carry their inherently dangerous product across privately owned property, they often can be the focus of litigation when something goes wrong.
This extensively researched literature contains factual backgrounds of a collection of cases and concise descriptions of each court holding, as well as a list of specific California statutes related to the field of arboriculture that are insightful, instructional, and essential documents for private landowners, homeowners, arborists, businesses, lawyers, and the general public.