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Editor: Stephen Clowney
Univ. of Kentucky College of Law

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Monday, January 9, 2012

Tree Law, Ctd

Ellisontrees

It appears that tree law is super-serious business in the hills of San Francisco.  Here's an article from the Wall Street Journal about Larry Ellison's battle with his downhill neighbors:

Mr. Ellison's neighbors, Bernard and Jane Von Bothmer, purchased a $6.9 million home down the hill from the software mogul's place in 2004. In the ensuing years, the Von Bothmers let the trees in their expansive backyard grow. Three redwoods and an 80-year-old acacia have since risen by several feet.

In a trial set to begin June 6, the billionaire plans to take the Von Bothmers to state Superior Court in San Francisco over how the trees have obstructed his floor-to-ceiling window views of San Francisco Bay. The court date follows a lawsuit Mr. Ellison filed last June alleging he will suffer "irreparable injury" from lost property value if the court doesn't make the Von Bothmers cut their trees in order to "restore Plaintiff's views and sunlight."

Here are the most interesting bidbits from the article:

(1)  San Francisco's "Tree Dispute Resolution Ordinance," which requires a complainant to seek "initial reconciliation" with the tree owner, file a "tree claim" if that doesn't work and, if necessary, submit the dispute to "binding arbitration." If all else fails, the dispute can go to court.

(2) The mention of Barri Bonapart, a lawyer in San Francisco who specializes in "tree and neighbor law."  Her website is here: http://treelaw.com/

Steve Clowney

(Pic: Ellison's view with the tree's at issue)

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/property/2012/01/tree-law-ctd.html

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