Who bears responsibility if an underline cable is damaged while planting a tree?

UPDATED: Sep 6, 2012

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Who bears responsibility if an underline cable is damaged while planting a tree?

A man went to a garden center and buys plants. He contracted 2 garden center employees to come out and plant them freelance. When they got there, he showed them exactly where they needed to be planted. The plants weren’t large enough to legally require a dig test to identify underground lines. In the process of the planting his phone line was damaged. Who is be responsible for paying to the damages to the line? Keep in mind this was freelance work done with no contract, guarantee or warantee of any kind. Would it be the planters, the homeowner who picked the exact spots for the plants or the phone company for not burying their line deep enough?

Asked on September 6, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The homeowner would be the responsible party, as the one who selected the spot to dig (without, for example, calling the phone company, other utilities, or the building department to see what, if anything, was buried there--which is negligent, or unreasonably careless), who owns the property, and who directed the work.

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