Tonkon Torp wrapped 2020 with a complete victory in a complicated and contentious boundary and water law dispute.
Attorneys Jan Neuman and Frank Weiss secured the victory for a client who was in a dispute with her neighbors in the Applegate Valley, located in Jackson County. The neighbors sought to recover significant damages for flooding allegedly caused by improvements the client made when building a vineyard on her property; they also sought an injunction requiring her to remove significant portions of the vineyard. In turn, Tonkon Torp’s client sought to quiet title along the fence line between the properties and to secure a mandatory injunction requiring the removal of a “spite wall” built by the neighbors to funnel water onto the client’s property.
A bench trial in Jackson County Circuit Court began in June and, in true 2020 style, was hampered by numerous postponements and challenges wrought by COVID-19. Nevertheless, after four more months and two more sessions of trial, several hundred exhibits, evidence spanning nearly 40 years, and testimony from 14 witnesses, including six experts who discussed topography, surveys, drainage patterns, hydraulics, and other technical issues, the trial finally finished on October 30th.
In the end, the law of gravity and water movement prevailed, and on New Year’s Eve, the Jackson County Circuit Court Judge issued a written opinion ruling in favor of Tonkon Torp's client on all issues. The neighbors received no damages and their requested injunction was denied. In turn, the boundary dispute was decided in our client’s favor, and the court issued a mandatory injunction requiring the neighbors to remove their wall.