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Defense Verdict in Real Estate Dispute

MVJ attorneys Rich W. Vanis, Richard A. DiCorrado and Kevin J. Price secured a defense verdict for their clients before Judge Michael P. Linfield in Los Angeles Superior Court. The case involved claims for access to real property, impairment of easements, loss of view and trespass to trees. It was divided into two Phases, the first of which involved equitable claims wherein Plaintiffs sought unfettered access to their property over which Defendants had an easement for a gated, private driveway. Animosity led the Defendants to exclude the Plaintiffs from the driveway, prompting the lawsuit. Following trial, the Court issued an order restricting Plaintiffs’ access in time, manner, and for limited purposes, with notice requirements and numerous other conditions. 

The second Phase of trial involved Plaintiffs’ claims for monetary damages for impaired view and trespass to trees. Plaintiffs claimed that the Defendants’ modern metal roof violated provisions in two different Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs). Plaintiffs also claimed that Defendants trimmed trees on their property without permission. Plaintiffs claimed several hundred thousand dollars in damages, however the amount varied as trial progressed.

The Court found for the Defense on all of Plaintiffs’ claims in Phase 2. The Court found that Plaintiffs’ claims were time barred, unsupported by evidence, and that the CC&Rs were unenforceable by Plaintiffs. Plaintiffs failed to prove that Defendants cut their trees, and Plaintiffs had previously sued another, different neighbor for cutting the same trees.

Affirmative claims by the Defendants against Plaintiffs were resolved by way of settlement before Phase 2 of the trial.

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