Case Name: Fancher v. Fagella
Plaintiff: Richard Fancher
Defendant: Joseph Fagella
Citation: 650 S.E.2d 519 (Va. 2007)
Key Facts: Fancher and Fagella are neighbors. The defendant, Fagella, has a large sweet hum tree that has a root system which has damaged and displaced a retaining wall between the neighbors. The root system has also damaged the plaintiff’s patio, blocked his sewer and water pipes, and impaired the foundation of his house. Fancher attempted self-help but the root system continues to grow and worsen the condition of his property. The court determined that it had only reviewed these cases in more rural times and utilized persuasive authority to overrule precedent.
Issue: Whether the defendant’s large tree is a noxious nuisance to his neighbor when the tree has imposed actual damage and will continue to impose actual damage.
Noxious – hurtful, offensive
Rule: Encroaching trees and plants may be regarded as a nuisance when they cause actual harm or pose an imminent danger of actual harm to adjoining property.
Judgment: Remanded to consider injunctive relief in the present case.