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Summary judgment is appropriate when, construing the evidence most strongly in favor of the nonmoving party: (1) there is no genuine issue of material fact; (2) the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law; and (3) reasonable minds can come to but one conclusion, that conclusion being adverse to the nonmoving party.
Appellee neighbors' predecessors planted trees along their boundary lines, creating an impassable barrier and blocking appellant homeowner's view. In appellant's suit against appellee neighbors for violations of certain restrictive covenants, trespass, and nuisance, and against appellee homeowners' association for failure to enforce the covenants, all parties moved for summary judgment. The trial court granted summary judgment to appellee neighbors and homeowners' association. Appellant homeowner challenged the decision.
Was the grant of summary judgment in favor of appellee neighbors proper under the circumstances?
Yes, with respect to violations of restrictive covenants claim. No, with respect to the trespass claim.
The court affirmed summary judgment to appellee neighbors on the violations of restrictive covenants claim because, construing them strictly against limits on land use, the covenants did not grant appellant a right to a view or prevent landscaping without prior approval. Since no violations occurred, appellee homeowners' association had no enforcement duty. Further, absolute or qualified nuisance did not occur where maintenance of the trees did not involve a hazard or unreasonable risk of harm. The court, however, reversed summary judgment to appellee neighbors on the trespass claim because the trees encroached upon the space above appellant's property. Therefore, the court remanded for a determination of the extent of trespass, the use to which appellant put the property trespassed, and damages.