Walnuts allowed to fall off tree, German court rules | News | DW | 27.01.2018
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Walnuts allowed to fall off tree, German court rules

A Frankfurt court determined a woman who sued her neighbor for over €3,000 in damages to her car must reckon with nuts falling off trees. The neighbor's tree extended over her property due to a "statistical mistake."

A district court in Frankfurt ruled on Friday that walnuts were allowed to fall off trees, concluding that the annual autumnal occurrence could be traced back to "a fact of nature."

The ruling came after a case was brought to the court by a woman whose car had been damaged by walnuts falling from her neighbor's tree.

"The claimant maintains that walnuts and branches with walnuts fell onto her vehicle due to high winds one night in October 2013, thereby causing dents to the body, hood and roof," the ruling read. The woman had sued her neighbor for €3866.36 ($4,805) to cover the repairs to the car along with interest.

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a walnut tree (picture-alliance/blickwinkel/W. Layer)

Walnut trees, like the above, drop their fruit in autumn

Autumn: One of life's natural risks

The branches of the neighbor's tree extended 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) into the woman's property due to a "statistical mistake." The neighbor, the defendant, had regularly cut back the branches and the tree was determined to be healthy.

The neighbor had also previously denied the woman's written request for permission to build a carport over her vehicle.

The defendant argued that he was not responsible for paying the damages since nuts falling from trees in the autumn is "a natural process and belongs to the natural risks of life."

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Safety net the only sure way

In its ruling, the court sided with the neighbor, stating that "the claimant must reckon with the falling of nuts from a walnut tree in the autumn."

"In order to completely rule out the danger posed by falling fruit, the only logical conclusion is the possibility of entirely cutting back the fruit-bearing tree in question or surrounding it with a safety net."

However, such an option would be unreasonable due to the financial resources required and the fact that the city would oppose the measure.

The claimant will have to bear the cost of the court case. She can lodge an appeal within one month.

Read more: Walnut trees for future generations

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