Driveline Fabrications services and repairs heavy construction and forestry equipment on its site in Franklin, Virginia.
It shares a wide access road (via easement) with Blackwater Properties and Blackwater’s lessee, Parts & More, a seller of vehicle parts. Over the years, a number of disputes have led to growing difficulties between the businesses. In the most recent dispute, Driveline (our client) and an additional party were sued for nuisance and trespass, alleging, in part, that large vehicles waiting for access to Driveline’s regular parking lot occasionally obstructed the 60-foot-wide road. Plaintiffs requested $72,000 in compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages. Phillip Lingafelt of GFDG defended Driveline. In an October 2012 jury trial in Franklin County Circuit Court, the Court dismissed (at the plaintiffs’ request) the additional defendant and the trespass charges. In less than one hour, the jury returned a verdict for Driveline, finding no substantial interference with the plaintiffs’ reasonable use of their property. As a result, our client avoided all damages.