Dealing with insane neighbors?

Dmac77

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jan 2, 2008
2,165
2
Michigan
So the crazy old woman who lives next to my grandmother is at it again. For the past 10 years, she has had an obsession with clear cutting the sides of my grandmother's 80 year old pear trees (she does it on a bi-monthly basis). Today she finally made me blow up.

My grandmother called me to tell me that she was cutting the trees again. So as usual, I went over to her house, to watch the tree cutters, so I could make sure that they don't trim past the property line (which is exactly where our fence is). I went to the foreman on the job and gave him a copy of a letter that our family lawyer typed up several years ago informing them that it is illegal for them to trim past the property line and if they do trim past the line, they will be sued (that's how bad things get with this woman). I also went and knocked on the woman's door, and gave her a copy of the letter. I also verbally informed her that we would sue her if the trees were trimmed even half an inch past the property line.

Everything went well, until the woman spotted a squirrel nest in the tree (she hates squirrels, and my grandmother feeds them). The nest was past the fence, but she told the foreman that she'd give him $250 extra to cut it out. I over heard this, and I went over to her, and informed her that if she did not tell them to stop, she would be sued for the full value of the tree, and that my family would make sure that she was bogged down in the courts until the day she finally drops dead. She asked to get off of her property (which I promptly did). The tree cutter cut the nest down (and in the process cutting over 2 feet into our property. I then called our lawyer, and then the police (at the advice of the lawyer). My grandmother got kind of cocky, and taunted the woman, who then decided to say that she would make her pay if we sued her. We took that as a threat (because she has previously sent her son over with a shotgun with which he threatened to kill my grandmother if she didn't stop feeding the squirrels).

I told her that it would be wise to shut her poison mouth, at which point she decided to call my grandmother a "dried up old crazy hag" and the b and c words. I then lost it and told her that she was the crazy b word and that my family has the power to kill any of her reputation in our town (small town, and we do have the power). She then decided to throw her cane at me, and used the excuse that she was defending her property from a trespasser (I was three feet past our fence (we've also had disputes about the property line that went to court , we won that dispute; she says we paid off the judge:rolleyes:). The police officer who showed up is her son-in-law, who decided to threaten me with arrest for "verbally badgering" our lovely neighbor. I got his badge number, and told him that a formal complaint will be filed against him. The last we heard from the woman personally, was a call she made to our house in which she told me that if I don't stop hasseling her over the trees, she will make me pay. I told her to f-off drop dead and burn in hell where she belongs and hung up the phone.

Our lawyer has already drawn up papers to sue her and the tree trimmers for destruction of our property and emotional distress, and he will be filing them within the hour. Now her son just pulled up in his huge ass truck, and is staring me down (from his mother's lawn) as I type this on my laptop. I've been kind enough to flip him the bird a few times. He's also thrown a rock at my dog while it's been sitting in the yard with me because she barked at him (she's a miniature dachshund).

This woman is verifiably crazy, when her husband was still alive, she told the mail man on a daily basis that he was holding her captive as his sex slave (he was 96 when he died, four years ago). She also has a tradition of throwing crumpled up paper out her door on halloween at kids who try to trick or treat at her house. She's just nuts.

I've decided to stay with my grandmother in case her son decides to come over with a shotgun again, when they get served either tonight or tomorrow.

I have a few questions for you guys:

1) Should I try to press charges against her for trying to assault me with her cane?
2) Should I try to press charges for the threats she has made?
3) What can I do about her son trying to hurt my dog with a rock?
4) Any advice on how I can keep myself composed while dealing with this woman?

Thanks,

-Don
 

jav6454

macrumors P6
Nov 14, 2007
16,876
1,532
1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
I have a few questions for you guys:

1) Should I try to press charges against her for trying to assault me with her cane?
2) Should I try to press charges for the threats she has made?
3) What can I do about her son trying to hurt my dog with a rock?
4) Any advice on how I can keep myself composed while dealing with this woman?

Thanks,

-Don
1. Yes, even so more if there is physical evidence (ie, bruise)

2. Yes (because you can argue you fear for your life). Many homicides/murders start off as threats. You can argue this. Furthermore, it's also emotional distress.

3. Also yes, you can sue. The dog was on your property, so it's fair to call it destruction of property and since the dog is yours and alive, something along animal cruelty should do.

4. Do nothing, just keep thinking, "when I win in court, I will send this crazy b*tch to the nut house or/and have her commited". Also, keep the lawyer/police informed.
 

renewed

macrumors 68040
Mar 24, 2009
3,068
6
Bemalte Blumen duften nicht.
Stay on your property. Do what your lawyer says. Let them get served for destruction of property and emotional distress etc..

Don't call them and threaten them.

Don't antagonize her son.

DO call the cops if he shows up with a gun.

DO keep any records of any damage they try to cause (throwing a rock at your dog, car, throwing canes etc..)

Just keep it calm for now. Let the court sort it out of if possible and if need be call the cops to report any threats or if you feel in danger.
 

Hellhammer

Moderator emeritus
Dec 10, 2008
22,164
581
Finland
If you have a video camera, keep it ready so if he shows up with the shotgun or does something else stupid, you have some evidence against him. By just saying he did this and this won't really hold in court unless there are unbiased witnesses but a video evidence is enough to send him behind the bars or some whammy land.
 

184550

Guest
May 8, 2008
1,980
2
(Text Snip)

I have a few questions for you guys:

1) Should I try to press charges against her for trying to assault me with her cane?
2) Should I try to press charges for the threats she has made?
3) What can I do about her son trying to hurt my dog with a rock?
4) Any advice on how I can keep myself composed while dealing with this woman?

Thanks,

-Don
All seem like questions that your lawyer could answer. That aside, I would pursue every option available that had a sound legal basis.
 

toxictrix

macrumors 6502a
Jan 8, 2009
550
0
Texas
These are all questions you should ask the lawyer. Not us. You should not retaliate or set foo on her property until this is all over.
 

Dmac77

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jan 2, 2008
2,165
2
Michigan
Yeah I guess you guys are right. I should talk to the lawyer about this. I'm just a bit frazzled still. Her son (who I do actually fear) hasn't come over yet, but he's still pacing right at the property line. I feel bad for my grandma, because this woman gets a kick out of upsetting her. I'll go and call the lawyer now, and see what he can do about what I asked you guys.

I kind of feel like I stooped to her level by swearing at her, but I guess anger just gets the better of us sometimes. I truly wish this woman would just drop so I wouldn't have to help my grandma out with this every few months...

-Don
 

184550

Guest
May 8, 2008
1,980
2
Yeah I guess you guys are right. I should talk to the lawyer about this. I'm just a bit frazzled still. Her son (who I do actually fear) hasn't come over yet, but he's still pacing right at the property line. I feel bad for my grandma, because this woman gets a kick out of upsetting her. I'll go and call the lawyer now, and see what he can do about what I asked you guys.

I kind of feel like I stooped to her level by swearing at her, but I guess anger just gets the better of us sometimes. I truly wish this woman would just drop so I wouldn't have to help my grandma out with this every few months...

-Don
I didn't realize earlier that you're still a minor. Therefore I would not engage this women in any manner in the future and would ignore, but document, any future advances. The confrontation with the police officer will not be helpful in your case.
 

kolax

macrumors G3
Mar 20, 2007
9,181
115
Crikey.. suing here, suing there, policeman turning up who's her son-in-law.

Just corruption all over it.

Sounds like the old hag next door is just wanting a bit action to occupy her day and this is the way. I find it far fetched suing all over the place though.

Neighbours like that are more hassle than it's worth.. especially when there's corruption written all over it. If her son fired his gun, I'd no doubt expect her son-in-law policeman to turn up.

If that was me, I'd offer to chop the tree down and ask her to pay for a new baby tree that could be planted away from her fence.
 

Gelfin

macrumors 68020
Sep 18, 2001
2,166
4
Denver, CO
Do not engage with crazy people period. If you could expect a good outcome, they wouldn't call them crazy, and this sounds like a whole family of winners. Worse, crazy is contagious. If you try to deal with them directly it will rub off on you.

You've got a serious disadvantage here in that you are in a small town and the crazy woman has a close relative on the police force. You will likely encounter a similar response from every other officer you encounter. You say your family has some influence. I hope it's enough to shake up the whole police department.

Thus I would suggest avoiding escalating things to the point of police intervention as much as possible. Work with your lawyer, and be sure he understands the police conflict of interest involved. And document, document, document. This sounds like it will probably end in court, and your job is to make sure you have enough evidence that the crookedest judge in town couldn't get away with ruling against you.
 

Dmac77

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jan 2, 2008
2,165
2
Michigan
Crikey.. suing here, suing there, policeman turning up who's her son-in-law.

Just corruption all over it.

Sounds like the old hag next door is just wanting a bit action to occupy her day and this is the way. I find it far fetched suing all over the place though.

Neighbours like that are more hassle than it's worth.. especially when there's corruption written all over it. If her son fired his gun, I'd no doubt expect her son-in-law policeman to turn up.

If that was me, I'd offer to chop the tree down and ask her to pay for a new baby tree that could be planted away from her fence.
Well I already contacted the police chief (my grandfather, who has passed, was best friends with him), and he has promised me that I will never see that cop in uniform near my grandmother's property again. And that he has a hell of a reprimand for getting involved. I guess he heard that there was an incident on the police scanner, and decided to take it from another cop who was going to deal with it.

We've successfully sued her in the past when she destroyed a japanese maple of my grandmother's (she had to pay for the cost of the tree, $6,500). Because her actions were responsible for it dying. We've also had to take her to court over where the property line is. So we're just going to go after her again. We haven't lost against her yet, and we don't plan to again. Our lawyer called me (I basically act as a liaison between him and my grandmother), and he has filed a lawsuit against her and the company that trimmed the tree, along with the individual worker who cut into our property. He's going to have her served tomorrow.

If her son takes a step on to my grandmother's property, I'll have him arrested for trespassing. I've setup a video camera in the window that has a clear view of where the property line is, so we'll see...

As for cutting the trees down. That's not happening. They're 80 years old, and perfectly healthy. They're part of the house, and they're staying.

-Don
 

VictoriaStudent

macrumors regular
Jul 20, 2010
100
0
first off -

"Suing someone" isn't a magical, god-like power you can just whip out of your pocket and use to squash someone.

You can only "sue" someone for actual damages caused. It's an oft-times lengthy process...in which both sides typically argue back & forth about how much tangible, objective damage was caused...whether from deliberation or neglect. As I see it, the only thing you can "sue" for is the loss of the value of the tree. Frankly, you aren't looking at much, if anything. Even more frankly, were I the judge I would throw the case out of court for being a waste of time.

That being said, the court will determine what, if any, value is due you for loss of 2 ft of tree. Again, don't expect much...as it's not like you or your family were making money from the fruit of the tree. The only true damage here is emotional. And, worse for you, it's not the sort of damaged emotion that comes from, say, the loss of a loved one, or the loss of a limb, or eye, etc. Get what I'm saying?

Now, realistically what can happen here is you might be able to get a restraining order against her. That's what I would attempt to win in court...if you feel the need to involve the court system at all...which it seems like you do.

Frankly, my friend, just walk away from this. This is all just an emotional mire..nothing to be gained from continuing to act out against her...Unless you wish to further engage & enflame your pettier emotions, just leave it be.

good luck with this mess.


ps: fire your attorney. He is screwing you over by serving her papers in this ridiculous case. The only person who is going to make money out of all this will be your attorney. You are throwing money into a fire. If you want to needlessly spend money, but on a far worthier cause, I'll PM you my paypal account & you can simply wire me what you would pay your attorney. I'm a starving student & could use the cash.
 

Gelfin

macrumors 68020
Sep 18, 2001
2,166
4
Denver, CO
Well I already contacted the police chief (my grandfather, who has passed, was best friends with him), and he has promised me that I will never see that cop in uniform near my grandmother's property again. And that he has a hell of a reprimand for getting involved. I guess he heard that there was an incident on the police scanner, and decided to take it from another cop who was going to deal with it.
A bit of good news, in light of what I was just saying. :)
 

Consultant

macrumors G5
Jun 27, 2007
13,294
22
Video tape next time (but probably don't want to film the police though, that's another matter).
 

Surely

Guest
Oct 27, 2007
15,042
8
Los Angeles, CA
VictoriaStudent: perhaps read the post before yours and then edit yours. Clearly suing this neighbor has provided some compensation to the OP's grandmother.

Dmac77: Keep that camera rolling....... I was at the dentist last week, and the tv that I was forced to watch during my cleaning had the People's Court or something on it. It was a case between neighbors, and the plaintiffs won because they had videotape of the other neighbor blowing all of the fallen leaves onto their property and putting trash on their property.

It's too bad you didn't have video of the tree-trimmers cutting down that squirrel nest.....

Document everything.
 

countrykid333

macrumors member
Feb 29, 2008
61
0
Small town politics at their finest. I grew up in a small town and know how bad it can get. The son coming over with the shot gun was definitely the point where I would start taking this seriously, and staying with your grandma is an excellent call, idk what the response times are around there but be careful; it could be just you and him for quite some time before the leo's arrive.

and good thing he was able to defend himself from the beast of a dog :rolleyes:


good luck man
 

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