The following is from a member of our beekeeping association who writes a short newsletter each month and this is an update regarding the ongoing lawsuit he had been fighting with a neighbor. It is over and done with other than as he states (completing the paperwork) so we can not change the court’s decision. Just wanted to share, welcome any comments but your would’ve, should’ve, and could’ve s will not change the outcome.
From the Editor
As this editorial is being written (Tuesday, Nov. 29) rain is in the forecast for tomorrow. This will be most welcome. I am tired of breathing dust, and the fish in my pond are tired of watching their swimming space shrink. Also, some rain will let the winter plants come into bloom, allowing me to stop feeding those colonies of mine with insufficient stores.
My court case has been mostly resolved via mediation (some paperwork remains for the attorneys to complete, and I decided the result was an 85% loss for me. Here are the highlights:
• While the complaint filed by the plaintiff (my neighbor) accused me of every beekeeping sin imaginable, the actual issue turned out to incredibly petty: my neighbor decided the beehives on my property interfered with the view from his property over my land. He also didn’t want to see beehives on his drive to work every morning.
• The court appointed mediator turned out to be completely insensitive to the emotional attachment we have for our bees. “So, what if moving your bees now would kill them? You can get new ones in the spring.”
• In the end, in return for the right to keep bees on the property, I have to locate all the bees on my property off the land that is readily visible from my neighbor’s property. In practice, this means I will have to move 6 hives from the best beekeeping location on my property to my front yard (fortunately not a bad location). I can move the colonies in the spring. I also have to limit the number of permanent colonies on the property to 10 (The Dothan Good Neighbor Guidelines would allow me 15 colonies on my 3.2-acre property).
Had we decided not to settle and instead gone to trial, I am 90% certain that we would have won (nothing is certain in trial law until the judge bangs his gavel for the last time). So why did we settle? On the office wall of the attorney who handled our first house sale back in the 1970s was a cartoon titled “The Law Suit”. It featured two farmers in a heated argument each trying to pull a cow his way, while the lawyers were milking the cow. In my case, going to trial would have cost me about $10,000 more in attorney’s fees, and I have better things to do with my money.