Woman seeking €80,000 for wall damage is not owner, court hears

Case struck out and costs awarded against tenant alleging root harm to Killiney house

The claims against Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council and Abberley Management Company Limited were thrown out by Judge Jacqueline Linnane

The claims against Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council and Abberley Management Company Limited were thrown out by Judge Jacqueline Linnane

 

An Italian designer, who claimed €80,000 damages for repairs to a wall, turned out to be “merely a tenant” and not the owner of a property she alleged had been damaged by tree roots, a judge said today.

In March Francesca De Cataldo gave the Circuit Civil Court an undertaking not to cut down trees believed to have been planted on Killiney Hill, Co Dublin, to mark a visit to Ireland by Queen Victoria more than a century ago.

On Tuesday Ms De Cataldo was in court to see her claims against Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council and Abberley Management Company Limited thrown out by Judge Jacqueline Linnane.

Barrister Francis Daly, counsel for Dún Laoghaire-based Abberley Management, had asked the court to dismiss De Cataldo’s claims on the basis they were vexatious, frivolous, without merit and an abuse of process.

Liam O’Connell, counsel for Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, said he was also asking for Ms De Cataldo’s proceedings to be struck out. He said her legal team had conceded that the local authority had no case to meet.

Judge Linnane said Ms De Cataldo, of Duncan, Killiney Hill Road, Killiney, Co Dublin, had initially failed to inform the court that she was a tenant in the property and not the owner.

Withdrawing claim

In March she had sought damages of more than €80,000 which had later been reduced to around €40,000 for damage allegedly caused to a wall on the property by the roots of trees along a lane. She had asked the court for an injunction seeking damages and directing the felling of the trees, proceedings in which she had failed and in which costs had been directed against her.

Lyndsey Noonan, of Canal Quarter Solicitors for the county council, had told the court that Ms De Cataldo had expressly pleaded that the property belonged to her and that she and her family lived there. It had since been proved she did not own the house or perimeter wall.

De Cataldo told the court she had lived in the house since January 2005 and since then had managed the property on behalf of her landlady for whom she acted as agent whenever maintenance was needed.

She said she included a claim for repair of the boundary wall because she intended to have it repaired on behalf of her landlady. She was now withdrawing that claim without prejudice to her landlady’s entitlement to bring a claim.

Judge Linnane, refusing an application to further adjourn De Cataldo’s proceedings, dismissed De Cataldo’s claim, with costs, against Abberley and struck out her claim against the county council, also with costs.