4415 W Lovers Lane, LLC v. Stanton

Dallas Court of Appeals, No. 05-17-01363-CV (July 12, 2018)

Bridges (opinion linked here), Myers, and Schenck

The Stantons sued 4415 W Lovers Lane, LLC and got a temporary injunction preventing the company from cutting down a large tree growing along the property line between them. The Stantons were building a house on their property, and they claimed the design of the house “was to include a large window to look out on to the large elm tree.” They argued removal of the tree “would diminish the current market and intrinsic value” of their property. The Court of Appeals dissolved the injunction, finding the Stantons had not established a probable right to recovery because they did not own the tree. Mr. Stanton testified that only about one-fifth of the trunk crossed over the property line onto his property, but argued the canopy (and resulting shade) covered half the house, and the tree provided privacy. But the appellate court was not convinced, citing a Texas Supreme Court opinion from 1900 holding that “a tree and all its roots and branches belong to the owner of the soil upon which its trunk stands.” And it noted that trees that start life on one property and grow onto a neighboring property do not automatically become boundary-line trees, and thus joint property, merely by touching a property line.