Moving Toward an Agreement

Neighborhood disputes

New England is home to the country’s most beautiful residential properties, as well as the frivolous lawsuits that stem from neighbor disputes. Some of the more common quarrels shared across America’s neighborhoods involve fence or property lines, noisy pets, mischievous children, and parking or easement rights. While one Massachusetts family’s grievance is ending, a New Hampshire woman’s court battle with her neighbor is in the beginning stages. The common thread between the two issues is the prolonged attempt to resolve the disputes on their own, prior to filing claims in court.

For years, Erik and Athina Tenczar have complained that their Kingston, MA home was subjected to unintentional target practice, as approximately 651 golf balls have hit their home since they purchased it in 2017. The $750,000 home is positioned near Indian Pond Country Club’s 15th hole. Those who may classify this lawsuit as frivolous may point out that the family should have expected golf balls to come in contact with the property or structure of their home; however, the frequent extent to which contact was made and the damage that was caused helped present a viable legal claim. One incident resulted in the injury of their young daughter. The family has been awarded $4.93 million in compensation and the promise that the tee box will be moved.

About an hour and a half away in Hampton, NH, two neighbors are scheduled to return to court in May to discuss a potential zoning violation that involves livestock. Erica de Vries has filed a complaint against her neighbor, Jessica Lapa Beals, who raises a small herd of goats on her property. While she cares for the animals, they sometimes escape by hopping over the fence to visit the surrounding homes. De Vries has illustrated the destruction the goats have caused to her landscaping, and has presented the problem as one that may not be fixed. Although a lot of the other neighbors enjoy the presence of the goats, Lapa Beals is potentially willing to relocate them to keep the peace.