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10/25/68 LOUIS SACHS v. HARVEY CHIAT AND ANOTHER

October 25, 1968

LOUIS SACHS
v.
HARVEY CHIAT AND ANOTHER



Knutson, C.j., and Nelson, Sheran, Peterson, and Frank T. Gallagher, JJ.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

Torts -- damage caused by pile driving on adjacent land -- recovery in absence of negligence.

1. Substantial property damage sustained by a landowner as the actual result of the concussion and vibration from pile-driving operations upon adjacent land are recoverable even though such operations are reasonably necessary and even though the pile driving is conducted in a careful and workmanlike manner. A directed verdict based only upon the assumption that damages incurred from such reasonably necessary construction methods may be recovered only upon proof of negligence in the conduct of such operations is reversed.

Torts -- drainage of surface water -- liability of landowner.

2-3. A landowner is liable for the drainage of surface water from his land onto that of an adjoining landowner only if, considering all of the particular facts of each case, the interference is unreasonable. A jury could find in this case that defendant had made a reasonable use of his land, and the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying plaintiff's application for an injunction directing defendant to take affirmative measures to prevent such drainage.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Peterson

Action in the Hennepin County District Court for an injunction and for damages for injury to plaintiff's property resulting from construction of a house on adjacent property by defendant Harvey Chiat and defendant McNulty Construction Company, his contractor. The case was tried before Earl J. Lyons, retired judge, and a jury. The court denied the injunction and directed a verdict for defendants on the issue of liability for damages from pile-driving and the jury found for defendants on the issue of whether damage was caused by surface waters. Plaintiff appealed from an order denying amended findings on the injunction issue, from an order denying judgment notwithstanding the verdict or for a new trial on the damage issue, and from the judgment entered.

AUTHOR: PETERSON

Defendant McNulty Construction Company constructed a home for defendant Harvey Chiat at 3812 Drew Avenue South, Minneapolis, adjacent to the home of plaintiff, Louis Sachs, at 3816 Drew Avenue South. Plaintiff sued these defendants for damages to his property alleged to have resulted from the concussion and vibrations of pile-driving operations employed in constructing the foundation for the Chiat home and from the drainage of surface water onto plaintiff's lot because of the elevated grade established for the Chiat lot; plaintiff additionally applied for an injunction requiring defendants to take measures which would prevent the continuance of such water drainage. *fn1

The issues concerning the drainage of surface waters were submitted to the jury, except that the determination of whether an injunction should be granted was reserved to the court. The jury returned a verdict for defendants, and the trial court denied plaintiff an injunction. The issue of liability for damages caused by defendants' pile-driving operation was decided by a directed verdict for defendants. Plaintiff appeals from the order denying his ...


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