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ForTheBugs

Trespass and damage sanctioned by town

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I received a letter from my town - not an HOA - telling me to cut the grass within two weeks or they would start fining me $50 a day. 

 

I cut the grass.

 

Two days after I cut the grass, a third-party contractor went onto my property while I was not home. I was not notified, contacted, or given any warning.

 

This contractor did not cut any grass, as it was already cut. They razed my landscaping instead.

 

The contractor went beyond my front yard. They went onto all the way around my home and garage and into my backyard. They randomly razed large plants. Nothing they cut was grass, and nothing they cut was a weed. It was all things I had planted. They razed four-foot high elderberry bushes, but only six of the twelve in the (mulched) bed. They crushed two-foot high evergreen shrub and the surrounding flowers; this was part of a larger area and the rest of the area was untouched. It was wanton and random, and all over my property.

 

What comes up for me is:

* violation of fourth amendment right to privacy by crossing the threshold of my home

* trespass

* destruction of property

* vandalism

 

I contacted the town manager and gave him an earful. He is coming tomorrow to see the damage. 

 

I am writing to ask the following:

 

1. Am I correct in my ideas about the aforementioned violations?

2. Are my complaints and recourse with the town or with the third-party contractor?

3. What is my recourse? 

 

I seek reparations for replacement of plants and lost harvest, but I also want protection from this happening to my property again. 

 

Any advice or assistance is appreciated.

 

Thank you.

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What comes up for me is:

* violation of fourth amendment right to privacy by crossing the threshold of my home

 

What threshold?  You said all this was done outside.  And have you ever actually read the Fourth Amendment?

 

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

 

Nothing you have described indicates a search or seizure in connection with a criminal investigation occurred or that any warrant was issued.  What part of it do you think was violated?

 

 

 

* trespass

* destruction of property

* vandalism

 

. . .

 

1. Am I correct in my ideas about the aforementioned violations?

 

Those words are all reasonable descriptions of what you described.

 

 

 

I seek reparations for replacement of plants and lost harvest

 

Lost harvest?

 

 

 

2. Are my complaints and recourse with the town or with the third-party contractor?

 

Definitely the contractor.  Whether you also have a valid legal claim against the town is more complicated since it implicates issues of sovereign immunity and potentially several others.

 

 

 

3. What is my recourse?

 

In my state, contractors are required to be bonded, and this would be the sort of thing for which a bond claim would be the best recourse.  Don't know if NC has a similar requirement.  Otherwise, this sounds like a small claims suit, although that may not be an option if you want to sue the town (in which case I suggest you consult with a local attorney).

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I received a letter from my town - not an HOA - telling me to cut the grass within two weeks or they would start fining me $50 a day. 

 

I cut the grass.

 

 

How long after the date of the letter did you cut the grass?

 

When you did cut the grass did you call the sender of the letter and say it was done?

 

Did you immediately follow up by fax or email to make sure that the notice of compliance was received?

 

As for suing the contractor, my guess is that he defense will be that he did what he was instructed to do.

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