Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question ” I have been injured on another person’s property. What should I do now?”
The old schoolteacher Ichabod Crane, late of Washington Irving’s 1819 tale, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” found himself tumbling “headlong into the dust” after a “galloping Hessian”—a headless one to boot—chucked his own head over the river at Crane, striking him in the “cranium with a tremendous crash.”
It was the youngish Crane’s last jaunt in Sleepy Hollow’s environs, and long after the people of the fair country wondered if the schoolteacher—like his headless Hessian pursuer—had lost his own head. Crane’s body was never found and he was never seen in those parts again.
Old country wives, Irving wrote, said Crane was “spirited away” by his ghostly neighbor.
Neighbors of one Charlotte property owner told WBTV on Wednesday that they—like Ichabod Crane and the galloping Hessian—have nearly lost their heads as a result of the actions of a Sleepy Hollow Road property owner.
The City of Charlotte issued a citation to the property owner on December 3 after finding that the owners were allowing heavy vehicle repairs and vehicle staging to be undertaken on the property. That kind of activity violates zoning regulations for an area zoned “residential.”
Neighbors told WBTV they have complained about the condition of the property for years, and city inspectors have issued numerous health and sanitation code violations against the owners. They hope that this time, the city’s actions against the property owners have the desired effect.
Many property owners may not realize that they do not need to rely on state or municipal authorities to secure their right to the quiet enjoyment of their property. Indeed, the Sleepy Hollow Road neighbors may have a cause of action against the offending property owner called “nuisance.”
When a property owner’s quiet enjoyment of one’s property is “significantly diminished” by the actions of another, the property owner can bring suit against the person to “abate” –or end— the nuisance.
In most nuisance suits, property owners sue alleging that a person has intentionally interfered with their right to the quiet enjoyment of their property, and that this intentional harm has damaged them by lessening the value of their property.
They may seek to have a court enter an injunction against the offending person. An injunction is an order that requires the person against whom the order is entered to stop performing a certain act or acts. If a person provided notice of the injunction continues to commit the act or acts specified, he or she may be held in contempt of court—or a court may fine the person or order the person to be imprisoned until the person obeys the order.
Property owners may also seek an award of damages for conduct that has reduced the value of their property.
If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of someone’s negligent or intentional conduct, please do not hesitate to contact me to set up an appointment today. If you or someone you know has any questions regarding potential personal injury claims, feel free to contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Charlotte, North Carolina for a free consultation. Call toll free at (955) 370-2828 or click here for additional resources.
About the Author
Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.
Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.
In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.
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