Tree Trimming and the LawDon’t complain when you get what you asked for.

There is a dialogue line spoken by Robert DeNiro to Cuba Gooding, Jr. in Men of Honor. Gooding stars as Carl Brashear and Bobby Dee as Master Chief Billy Sunday. Brashears says “Reporting for diving school sir.” And Bobby quotes an old Chinese proverb, “You know what the Chinese say Cookie, beware of what you wish for, because you just might get it.” The person asking today's question would do well to learn the meaning behind this Chinese proverb.

What legal right does one have to take back what they asked for? In this tree trimming case we see how a Chinese proverb plays out in America's suburbia.

Question: Can my neighbor legally trim my tree without my knowledge or permission? My neighbor or someone in his employ trimmed some limbs from a pear tree growing in my yard. These limbs extended over his property line. This tree is a non-fruiting tree. This neighbor knew the tree existed and that it had some overhang on his property. He has complained to me about it and I told him at the time that he knew the tree was there when he bought his house and if he wanted the limbs trimmed. He could do it at his own expense. [Underlining added.] These limbs impinge maybe five or six feet over his property line. I noticed today that the limbs had been trimmed. My wife, who is semi-ambulatory and is at home alone part of the day while I am at work, she told me that she heard all sorts of noise coming from next door. I don't really mind that the limbs are trimmed [So why now complain?] but I do mind that it was done without my knowledge and caused my wife some concern since she didn't know what was happening and can't get around quick enough to see what was going on.

Answer: It wasn't done without your knowledge and you didn't just consent to it being trimmed, you told him to do it. Why now are you complaining? Eh Cookie?


[quote at 0:35…]

And a movie titled Beware of What You Wish For, based on the short story “The Monkeys Paw” by JJ Jacobs.

Steve Lombardi
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Iowa personal injury, workers' compensation, motorcycle, quadriplegic, paraplegic, brain injury, death
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