Legal Question in Business Law in California

Two california commercial properties share common wall, 1 owner neglected euclipise tree trimming maintenance which has caused massive overgrowth of 50 foot tree's into senior citizen's commercial property causing damage. called owner property mgr said owner bankrupt, yet he is 92% occupied . i called tree service they claim the 30+ tree's are on his side of the common wall, they cannot cut or trim the massive overgrowth on senior citizen side due to tree's overtaking utility lines and easement on his side . called edison, verizon and cable company, they all claim "not their utility lines" owner sends property mgr to senior citizen's commercial property to view overgrowth, with 1 gardener" said it was badly overgrown and saw damage of office roof, and concluded, their boss was broke, good luck. what do senior citizen owner do now with this slum commercial landlord

Asked on 10/30/13, 4:11 am

2 Answers from Attorneys

Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law

To start, "bankrupt" can mean (at least) two different things, including "being in financial difficulty" as a kind of vague generality, on the one hand, or being the subject of a formal bankruptcy proceeding in Federal Bankruptcy Court on the other. It's fairly easy to find out if there is an actual bankruptcy proceeding, and since the rules and remedies available are very different if there's an actual bankruptcy filing, this is the first thing you need to clarify.

Next, it looks to me as though this situation has progressed to the point where legal action is warranted. The owner of the injured property should consider initiating a lawsuit against the other owner (if not formally bankrupt) or taking the necessary steps to intercede in the bankruptcy case, if there indeed is one.

Finally, there are various stages of being "broke." One can be "cash broke" so as to be unable (or maybe just unwilling) to write a check that'll clear, while still having assets such as real estate that are healthy and solvent -- and can be liened by a judgment creditor.

Looks to me as though the senior citizen should retain a lawyer to investigate the other owner's actual financial status, then file the appropriate legal action.

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Answered on 10/30/13, 12:14 pm

Ben Glen Law Offices of Ben Glen, PC

I agree with the the prior attorney's answer and would add that there very well may be insurance available for the Senior Citizens' group or landlord to go after, which covers the commercial landlord an/or his property.

However, time is of the essence to make a claim with the Bankruptcy Court--there are strict time limits in which to file a claim. You/your group /your landlord can also file or get an attorney to file a request for exception to the Bankruptcy proceedings, so as to pursue available insurance. Do not wait a day on this--contact a lawyer and/or the Bankruptcy Court and/or the trustee and the attorney for the debtor/commercial landlord immediately and get more solid information from the commercial landlord or his manager.

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Answered on 10/30/13, 6:45 pm

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