Wisteria vines, apples, lawyers and justice in Fayette County

I learned a lesson of a lifetime today. “If you go to court thinking you have a chance to win without an attorney you are living in a dream world.”

I have a neighbor who has land that is just feet from my front door [and] has been neglected for years. I didn’t care until vines called wisteria grew from their trees onto my storage shed, in the shed, under the shed and down from trees on their property to shrubs on my property, wrapping them in vines.

I have heart failure and I am no longer able to cut grass and do yard work. I have to pay to have it done. This lady has an unlisted phone number, so I thought if I wrote her a certified letter asking her to please cut back the vines growing from her property she would comply.

I sent her letters in 2010, 2011, 2012: no response. I decided to go to court and file against her, [thinking] the court would give me a judgment against her and I could have the vines removed.

I got two estimates from two different companies: one estimate was $2,500 and the other was $2,600. Both owners of the tree companies said they had never seen such neglect in their days doing tree work.

I made pictures of the vines growing in the trees and onto my property, pictures of their fence posts that had rotted and fallen over into my yard, made pictures of vines on top of my storage shed, inside the shed and growing in my azaleas.

I went to court on my birthday, Sept. 20, [and] presented my evidence. The property owner had a lawyer that represented her. I called today to get his name and “the court has no record of his name.”

I couldn’t afford a lawyer. Well, with all my evidence, the judge ruled this way: My estimates signed by the business owner and on the business owners’ company bills were no good, the owner of the company had to be there in court to testify to his estimates, so this was “hearsay“ evidence.

Next the judge said, “Ms. Saul, if your neighbor has an apple tree and an apple from that tree falls on your land, that is your apple. The same applies to this lady who planted wisteria vines on her property, and they grew over on your land. They are now your vines.” He said that was an “act of God.”

I wonder if he considers the rotten fence posts that have fallen on my property an “act of God,” but I forgot to ask.

It’s 4 o’clock in the morning and I didn’t sleep too well after my “day in court.” I remembered an event in my daughter’s life when she was 16 years old. She had a job after school at a pizza place in Riverdale.

Her best friend quit school and Kelley told some of the kids at school her friend was stupid for quitting school. Someone told her what Kelley had said, so she and her 175-pound boyfriend met Kelley in the parking lot when she got off work.

My daughter weighed about 65 pounds soaking wet. The guy grabbed her and held her while her friend beat her up. I pressed charges against both of them.

It just so happened that the guy was the son of a preacher, and we all know a preacher’s child can do no wrong. We went before a “judge” [and] he ruled that since Kelley laid her purse on the hood of her car, “that gave them the right to fight her.”

This had a profound effect on my daughter’s life, her ego, her self-esteem, and she doesn’t trust the justice system to nthis day.

After little sleep and a lot of thought, maybe the judge I had in court is a product of the same system of justice.

Just a word of warning: If you can’t afford to “lawyer up,” your chances to win are slim.

Please always keep in mind that if your neighbor has an apple tree, and an apple from that tree falls on your land, “it’s your apple” even if it is full of worms.

I will never forget my 77th birthday in court, and if I live to be a 100, I will never go back to court looking for justice without a lawyer.

You know I just wonder if the county commissioners have passed a law that says if your cat is outside, it has to be on a leash, why can’t they pass a law that property owners must cut back weeds, vines, etc., at their property line and not allow fences and posts to rot and fall into their neighbors’ yard.

Legay Saul

Fayette County, Ga.

SPQR
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vines

have you checked for help from code enforcement?

AtHomeGym
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SPQR & code enforcement

In unincorporated FC, what "code" would that be and who would enforce it? I have looked and find no ordinance re encroachment (a form of trespassing). Doesn't mean there isn't one, just that I didn't find one.

SPQR
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AHG

My thought was if you have an overgrown property in a residential neighborhood it becomes a haven for vermin and is therefore a nuisance and even a health threat. A stretch but nothing ventured nothing gained. Another option. Had an acquaintance once that had the same problem. He cut several runners and then tied them into containers of roundup. He claimed it solved the problem. Just some more free advice.

LeGay Saul
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Wisteria vines

Well my letter didnt work, some gave me advice to spray on the other persons land, you can't do that so my options are zero to stop the vines growing over on me. I am going to try other legal avenues. If i had a good neighbor I wouldnt have to worry about any of this. But if you live in a Golfing subdivision then you have no worries and a gardner cuts your lawn, and God forbid if anyone had weeds or vines in their yard. Thanks to the three of you who loged in and gave me support, if i wrote in about American Idol or a tv show i would have been covered up with comments, however today someone in stress that is on Social Security is at the bottom of anyones list of concern.

Quallacherokee
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Vines

A few phone calls to the right folks with TV cameras and satellite trucks, seem to get Action. It seems that government officials, and "bad" neighbors don't much like being on the 5oclock Atlanta TV News...

AtHomeGym
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Wisteria & Spraying

What's to stop you from spraying Roundup on the vines that are on your property?

G35 Dude
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It's your property

I do believe that you have the right to treat any plants that are on your property. Spray away.

Quallacherokee
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Vines and property

This has me thinking, "what would I do" if I had an Ahole neighbor like Saul's
yes spraying the offending vines would be step 1, then planting my own vines 1 foot on my side of the line and being sure to cultivate and trim them on my property ,,,
What Vine? Kudzu has a nice Fragrance.....

Spyglass
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Agree, take pictures and get to spraying

If they are on your property, I see no issue at all..

The poison will work just fine.

LeGay Saul
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my day in court

The reason i wrote this letter to the Editor was that i thought a lawyer or even a Judge would read this and understand i wasn't given a fair chance in court.. I thought that small claims court was a place where the preponderance of evidence was all you needed to win. I watch Judge Judy every day and I have seen her time after time rule for people and she says it is not like higher courts just the preponderance of evidence you can win. I had quotes from 2 tree company's signed and on company letter head, both said it would take a bucket truck to get the vines that have grown over to my property and into my trees. I had 3 certified letter written to the land owner begging her to cut back the vines on HER SIDE of the fence she had signed for the letters and ignored them, pictures with a red tape showing where the property line was.I had also been told in small claims court that you didnt need a lawyer, yet the Judge told me i needed a lawyer and my evidence was here -say that the people who gave me quotes had to be there, yet in a case before mine he ruled for a young woman in a car wreck that had a quote for a repair and the owner of that company wasnt there to testify? Why will not just one lawyer, or a Judge read my letter and give me a little peace of mind. Fair is fair, and i have $2,500.00 worth of damage to my property from vines that lady planted and they envaded my buildings, shrubbery and land.

Spyglass
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RoundUp

I would get after those vines.

Cheaper than filing in court.

Plead ignorance if anyone dares to complain.

LeGay Saul
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Husband and Father did say he

Husband and Father did say he was sorry, but i appreciate the people who have logged in to support me. The sad thing is no matter how many times i have the vines cut back they grow right back on me from the land that joins me. I am on social security, and this lady drives a $50,000 car and lives in a golf community, so she isn't hurting for money. She can hire a lawyer to represent her in Magistrate court but will not hire a landscaper to cut back the vines, if she had done that three years ago we wouldnt have to go to court. I would never do a neighbor like this, the property is just a tax write-off for her,but this is my home and the vines are now about a 100 ft. from my house. The vines have been let go to the point that they are growing up the trees and then back down onto my property, the vines on the trees are as big around as a mans arm. She has let the fences rot down, and the post have fallen onto my front yard.

Husband and Fat...
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Round Up

If no one lives on the land, how about I come over and spray a little Roundup on the vines. It will probably kill it within a few days. What she don't know can't hurt her.

stranger than f...
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Poor Wife and Children!

With the adroitness that Husband and Father doles out simplistic solutions to complicated dilemmas in his "Father Knows Best" world, it must be a real treat for Wife and Children to live with him.

Husband and Fat...
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Lighten Up Dude

Deleted

LeGay Saul
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wisteria vines

this anwer is to the gentleman above, wow it amazes me how people see and read what they want to and the FACTS in front of them just goes above the head. First of all: ITS LAND, NO NEIGHBOR JUST LAND that has been neglected for 20 years, Second of all its a rich lady with NO PHONE LISTING, so I sent her certified mail at the address listed on her deed. SHE IGNORED MY PLEAS FOR THREE YEAR, she refused to answer me so thus the last resort is a court date, and she had to answer that. Now think about my answer, let it sink in. You and your coffee would do no good with pine trees, most of them i know have no desire for coffee. You make yourself look like such a wonderful person in order to make me look bad......It didnt work.......

LeGay Saul
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wisteria vines

this anwer is to the gentleman above, wow it amazes me how people see and read what they want to and the FACTS in front of them just goes above the head. First of all: ITS LAND, NO NEIGHBOR JUST LAND that has been neglected for 20 years, Second of all its a rich lady with NO PHONE LISTING, so I sent her certified mail at the address listed on her deed. SHE IGNORED MY PLEAS FOR THREE YEAR, she refused to answer me so thus the last resort is a court date, and she had to answer that. Now think about my answer, let it sink in. You and your coffee would do no good with pine trees, most of them i know have no desire for coffee. You make yourself look like such a wonderful person in order to make me look bad......It didnt work.......

LeGay Saul
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wisteria vines

this anwer is to the gentleman above, wow it amazes me how people see and read what they want to and the FACTS in front of them just goes above the head. First of all: ITS LAND, NO NEIGHBOR JUST LAND that has been neglected for 20 years, Second of all its a rich lady with NO PHONE LISTING, so I sent her certified mail at the address listed on her deed. SHE IGNORED MY PLEAS FOR THREE YEAR, she refused to answer me so thus the last resort is a court date, and she had to answer that. Now think about my answer, let it sink in. You and your coffee would do no good with pine trees, most of them i know have no desire for coffee. You make yourself look like such a wonderful person in order to make me look bad......It didnt work.......some time I think it would be easier to talk to a tree than to try and reason with some people.

Husband and Fat...
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I'm Sorry

Not sure why something so simple escalated into a lawsuit in the first place. I think it could have been handled with a smile and a cup of coffee.

If something the neighbor does is bothering me, I walk over to thier house, pick up his newspaper and bring it to the door with a fresh cup of coffee. Tell them that we havent spoken in a while, ask about thier family, health and then address the issue.

I would have stated that you might not be aware of this but your vines have grown past the property line and is now affecting your property. Walk outside and show them the problem. Explain why its a problem ask how we can solve the issue. Come prepared with various solutions yourself.

No one knows what goes on in other peoples homes. My guess is that you may not have a good relationship with the next door neighbor. They may have financial problems and don't want you to know.

I am sorry that you haven't had positive experience with the judicial system. In the future it may be prudent to consult with a lawyer to assist with these types of battles.

MYTMITE
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may I suggest------

Reading comprehension 101?

Husband and Fat...
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I read the second paragraph

I read the second paragraph which stated "I have a neighbor who has land". How could I assume that the property was empty? When someone says neighbor, I think of a person living next door. I must have missed the part that specifically stated that this was a vacant lot.

My appologies