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Friday, June 14, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Couple Can Sue Over Dead Plants, Ore. Court Rules

SALEM, Ore. (CN) - A couple can make a case against county officials for killing their plants with herbicide, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled.

Kathleen and Jeffrey Worman sued Columbia County officials after noticing that the shrubs, grass and trees near the road were dead or dying.

Kathleen spoke to a representative of the county road department, who said the county had not sprayed in three years, and that the county did not even keep records of its spraying.

Judge Sercombe reversed the trial court's judgment in favor of the county, finding that the Wormans has produced evidence that county employee Jeff Peterson had, in fact, sprayed the Wormans' street with herbicide; and the damage to the Wormans' property is consistent with herbicide damage from a high-pressure sprayer.

"A reasonable juror could find that Peterson either accidentally or intentionally sprayed plaintiff's property with herbicide, thereby causing damage to the property," Sercombe wrote.

However, Sercombe also found that the Wormans did not state a case for inverse condemnation. There is no evidence that the county was trying to take their property.

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