Robert Frost once wrote in a poem that “good fences make good neighbors,” but that axiom is being sorely tested in a new lawsuit filed against Chicago Cubs pitcher Yu Darvish.
That lawsuit, filed by one of Darvish’s neighbors in suburban Evanston, alleges that a wooden fence erected by the pitcher’s family is obstructing another family’s view of Lake Michigan, in violation of a decades-old easement.
“(We’re) frustrated,” neighbor Alexis Eyler says. “We tried to reach an amicable solution.”
Eyler says her family met with the Darvish’s last year when the pitcher moved into the neighborhood. Darvish said that his family wanted a fence around their property for their kids and dogs, but that a wooden barrier would have blocked the Eyler family’s view of Lake Michigan, in violation of a 1950 easement that called for an “unobstructed view” of the lake from the Eyler property.
The Eyler family tried to get the Darvish’s to erect a wrought iron fence instead, and they say they offered to pay the difference in cost between the two types of structures, but now that the wooden fence has been erected, the family has decided to take their case into a courtroom.
“(With) older easements, the court will have to take a pretty hard look at the language of the easement itself and see if it’s enforceable,” real estate lawyer Ian Hoffenberg tells NBC 5.
Hoffenberg says that property owners generally do better by avoiding court proceedings for both financial and practical reasons.
“If they avoid court, they are better off. The court process is not only lengthy, but it can be quite costly,” he says.
Eyler says that she mentioned her easement to Evanston officials as they were working to decide whether to approve Darvish’s request for a fence around the property.
“The city doesn’t take a stance on private easements. They consider it a private matter, so they don’t enforce it,” she says.
The Darvish family, and the Chicago Cubs, have not commented publicly on the lawsuit, but Eyler says that the lawsuit has put her in direct opposition to her baseball loyalties.
“I love the Cubs. I always have,” she says. “It makes it a little hard because I’m obviously rooting for them to win, and I don’t want any ill feelings.”
A court date in the lawsuit has been set for July 29th.