Macris v. Matta, Sup Ct, Putnam County, Index No. 1354-2011

The firm represented Defendant homeowners, in an action commenced by their downstream neighbors for property damages stemming from the alleged flooding of their property, blaming a beaver dam located upon the Defendants’ property as the alleged cause. The Plaintiffs’ first sought a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction ordering the removal of the beaver dam and the killing of beavers. Both requests for injunctive relief were denied by the Court on the basis that the Defendants, Dr. Seoud Matta and Paula Matta, had no affirmative duty to remedy conditions of a purely natural origin upon their property, including the work of wildlife.

Thereafter, the Mattas moved for summary judgment, seeking dismissal of the action. In support of their motion, the Mattas submitted testimony that they had done nothing to attract beavers to their property or cause beavers to build a dam. The Court granted the Mattas’ motion and dismissed the action in its entirety. The Court again recited the rule that the Mattas had no affirmative duty to remedy the condition created by the beavers upon their property. The Court further noted the fact that the Mattas were “aware of the beavers’ endeavors and allowed them to continue” was “irrelevant.”