Lawsuit fellow beekeeper has lost.
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
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    Ozark, AL
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    Default Lawsuit fellow beekeeper has lost.

    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.
    Thanks.




    From the Editor
    Bill Miller

    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.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Lee\'s Summit, MO
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    Default Re: Lawsuit fellow beekeeper has lost.

    Welcome to a lawsuit. Though mine have been business, not been beekeeper related, I've had to swallow some pride to save 7.5 to 10 times the $10,000 you quoted for known outcome that still favored us but not as much as we felt it should have. Now this was a rival company that we already had plenty of bad blood with and it was fun to poke them in the eye considering they're the ones who initiated the lawsuit. I would have preferred to poke them in both eyes but it wasn't worth $75 to $100K especially when you never really know the outcome until the end. If you swing for the fence (spending the money to win) and miss, now you're out the cash and lost the lawsuit.

    It's your neighbor? I feel for you.
    Ninja, is not in the dictionary. Well played Ninja's, well played...

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
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    Vancouver Wa
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    Default Re: Lawsuit fellow beekeeper has lost.

    I'd plant a wall of bushes so he would not have to see them anymore.

  5. #4
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    Pepperell, MA.
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    Default Re: Lawsuit fellow beekeeper has lost.

    I've learned a few times over that being a steward for nature is a hard, sometime thankless and often expensive undertaking. However, it's never been something i can walk away from.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  6. #5
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    Tallapoosa, Georgia, USA
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    Default Re: Lawsuit fellow beekeeper has lost.

    Quote Originally Posted by MariahK View Post
    I'd plant a wall of bushes so he would not have to see them anymore.
    A nice hedge... with Leyland Cypress trees.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
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    Vestavia Hills, Al. USA
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    428

    Default Re: Lawsuit fellow beekeeper has lost.

    a 20 foot high laundry line with the tackiest sheets you can find
    Started April Fools Day 2017

  8. #7
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    Ozark, AL
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    Default Re: Lawsuit fellow beekeeper has lost.

    Quote Originally Posted by tpope View Post
    A nice hedge... with Leyland Cypress trees.
    I agree. If he did not like looking across MY LAND from his house and seeing bee hives then I would want to fix it so he could not see any thing past my land.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
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    Boston, MA
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    Default Re: Lawsuit fellow beekeeper has lost.

    The threadline here is misleading. He did not lose a lawsuit, and there was no decision from the court. He simply chose to settle a lawsuit with his neighbor as quickly and amicably as possible. There's no legal precedent set, the decision to settle was based not on the probability of success, but on the ongoing costs and annoyance. Still, there is a good lesson to be taken from this, which is that we often have to work/compromise with our neighbors to keep our bees. Sometimes our neighbors are ignorant, selfish, foolish, or just plain mean but we still gotta deal with them. Stinks to be us sometimes.
    Last edited by ritan1; 12-01-2016 at 10:18 AM.

  10. #9
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    St. Michael, MN
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    Default Re: Lawsuit fellow beekeeper has lost.

    If he broke no laws or ordinances with the placement of his hives on his own private property, I think he was a fool for settling, and I endorse the ideas presented above with regard to planting a 20 ft hedge of trees or evergreens along the property line. If his neighbor want's to claim ownership of an unencumbered view across your property, he should be required to pay for such ownership!

    Absolutely pathetic, but that's pretty much how I feel about 95% of humanity.

  11. #10
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    May 2016
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    Park County, Montana, USA
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    Default Re: Lawsuit fellow beekeeper has lost.

    I'm sorry for your woes. I too have been jerked around by the short hairs and 'settled' rather than endure the expense of being right. Plant the hedge.
    Lee

  12. #11
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    Feb 2011
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    Norfolk County, MA, USA
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    Default Re: Lawsuit fellow beekeeper has lost.

    In New Hampshire they have a view tax for looking at scenic settings so he's lucky. If it was my yard I would quickly eliminate all of his viewing pleasure through fence, shrubs or otherwise.
    Think about it....Buy American

  13. #12
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    allen,indiana,usa
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    Default Re: Lawsuit fellow beekeeper has lost.

    How about a fence, my grandpa always said fences make good neighbors

  14. #13
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    WaKeeney, KS, USA
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    Default Re: Lawsuit fellow beekeeper has lost.

    Living growing Bamboo fence. Just like the one I am planting in the spring.
    2nd year with bees. 3 Top Bar hives in my back yard.
    Zone 5b/6a. 'Crackpipe' OAV.

  15. #14
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    Aug 2016
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    Timonium, Maryland
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    Default Re: Lawsuit fellow beekeeper has lost.

    I was in similar situation: my neighbors lawn mower got stung a few times, and he or my neighbor called the county rep-s on me.
    First meeting with rep-s was ok, but he showed up after a week and ask me to move my hives before it gets more complicated. (you can find the whole thread here)

    Anyway, I decided whenever I start extracting honey, they will get nothing.

  16. #15
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    Sedgwick Co. KS
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    Default Re: Lawsuit fellow beekeeper has lost.

    Quote Originally Posted by beefarmer View Post
    How about a fence, my grandpa always said fences make good neighbors
    I agree here. I stop this gawking idiot with a taaall fence.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Lawsuit fellow beekeeper has lost.

    Quote Originally Posted by ritan1 View Post
    The threadline here is misleading. He did not lose a lawsuit, and there was no decision from the court. He simply chose to settle a lawsuit with his neighbor as quickly and amicably as possible.
    Bill's words, not mine; "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."

    I guess I should have titled it an 85% loss of beekeepers court case.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Lawsuit fellow beekeeper has lost.

    I think that the bulk of that 85% was the emotional impact of any lawsuit as well as dealing with an obnoxious neighbor (a continuing PITA who still lives nearby), not a financial or legal loss. While I understand what he said (and certainly the sentiment behind it), he didn't lose the case and no court decision was made. The headline makes it sound like there was some ruling against him; there was not.

    BTW, I think he did pretty well in the settlement.
    Last edited by ritan1; 12-01-2016 at 07:44 AM.

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Lawsuit fellow beekeeper has lost.

    >and I decided the result was an 85% loss for me.

    That does not sound like a 85% loss, sounds more like a 5% loss.

    >my neighbor decided the beehives on my property interfered with the view from his property over my land.

    A fence, trees, out building (with permits) will do the trick. I have planted many trees so I don't have to see neighbors; red cedars make an excellent wall in a few years.

    >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.

    Sounds like a win to me.

    >In practice, this means I will have to move 6 hives from the best beekeeping location on my property

    6 hive will take you less than a hour to move and set up, I would think a spot closer to your house would be better anyways (I use to have hives 20 ft from my front door). For $10,000 it's well worth it.

    On a side note; it is never a good idea for anyone to see your hives, paint them camouflage colors, and this may never have came up (not that you should have to but this is what our country has come to).

  20. #19
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    West Jordan, UT, USA
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    Default Re: Lawsuit fellow beekeeper has lost.

    That's the kind of neighbor that would call the city code enforcement on you for any petty reason. A tall hedge to hide the beek's property is probably not a bad idea, just as long as the hedge meets city requirements to the letter. Of course, the XXXX neighbor just might sue again because "his" view was interfered with. Might be a n-win situation, unless the beek counter-sues that the offending neighbor is interfering with his right to enjoy his own property.

    Now that the neighbor has won, he probably won't rest until the beek is gone.

  21. #20
    Join Date
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    lafargeville ny usa
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    Default Re: Lawsuit fellow beekeeper has lost.

    switch over to german black bees[foul disposition], manage for max swarming.

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