Court rules in favor of German woman's nutty neighbor
A German district court has ruled against a woman who sued her neighbor because walnuts from his tree fell on her car, saying that falling walnuts are a “fact of nature.”
In a move, which has no doubt caused some awkwardness on their street, the woman sued her neighbor for nearly €4,000 for damage to her car caused by the falling nuts.
The branches of the walnut tree reached 1.5 meters on to the woman’s property, overhanging where she parked her car. The woman alleged that walnuts and walnut laden branches fell on her car on a windy night in October 2013, causing dents to the bodywork and roof.
Documents filed at Frankfurt District Court show she sued her neighbor for €3,866.36, plus interest, to pay for the damage. She argued that it is the defendant’s responsibility to ensure the tree poses no danger.
The defendant countered this by saying that nuts falling from trees in the autumn is “a natural process and belongs to the natural risks of life.”
The court sided with the defendant saying the plaintiff had to expect nuts to fall off a walnut tree in the fall, because it “is a natural condition.”
It said that the only way to prevent the nuts falling would be to cut back the tree severely or to surround it with a nut collecting net. Neither of these solutions were deemed practical.
“In principle, it would also be desirable in the interest of the general public that walnut trees be present in cities; Therefore, in the autumn, road users [should] expect walnut trees to lose their nuts,” the judgement added.
The plaintiff received nothing, and will now have to shell out for court costs.
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