Court Holds that a Party May Not Force

Court Holds that a Party May Not Force Their Neighbor to Install a Drainage Facility to Address the Party’s Water Issues

In Aspen Grove Condominium Association v. CNL Income Northstar LLC, a California appellate court recently held that a property owner may not force a downhill neighbor to maintain a retention basin for the benefit of the party’s property. In Aspen Grove, plaintiff consisted of a condominium complex located at the Northstar ski resort. The initial owner of Northstar installed a retention basin on plaintiff’s property to address runoff water from Northstar’s property. For several years, the retention basin overflowed causing water intrusion damage to plaintiff’s property. The former owner of Northstar continued to work toward repairing the damage and correcting the issue. After the Northstar resort was sold, the new owner refused to undertake any further remedial efforts. Plaintiff sued for injunctive relief and damages.

At trial, the defendant introduced evidence that plaintiff could remediate the problem by installing an interceptor trench on its property. The trial court found that the plaintiff was not obligated to remediate water from defendant’s property. The trial court further ordered the defendant to remove the retention basin from plaintiff’s property. Plaintiff appealed. The appellate court affirmed holding that plaintiff had no adequate remedy at law and that years of remediation efforts had been unsuccessful. The court further held that removal of the retention basin would alleviate the continuing damage to plaintiff’s property. The court further held that monetary damages were insufficient as the plaintiff was not required to build a trench on its property.

Shannon B. Jones, Partner,