Can I sue my neighbor for parking a 2 1/2 ton truck within 20 feet of my door if it contains 4 55 gallon drums of diesel and 3 55 gallon drums of kerosene?

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Can I sue my neighbor for parking a 2 1/2 ton truck within 20 feet of my door if it contains 4 55 gallon drums of diesel and 3 55 gallon drums of kerosene?

We live in a 2 unit townhome with an adjoining wall. I have asked our association to help me but I am tired of waiting. I don’t know if my neighbor even has property insurance. I could lose everything because of him.

Asked on August 16, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

No, you cannot. You can only sue for harm, injury, damage, etc. that actually occurs--not for what might or could occur. The civil legal system (lawsuits) deals for compensation for what happened; it does not deal in hypotheticals. That you "could lose everything" is irrelevant: you have not lost anything yet, and so cannot sue.
You can and should contact the municipal building, zoning, and health departments: it is possible the neighbor is violating some ordinance (e.g. what can be stored in a residential neighborhood; violating zoning if this is for his business, if the area is not zoned commercial; etc.) and possibly your state Dept. of Environmental Protection (e.g. he may be violating rules for how this quantity of those substances must be stored). It is possible a government agency can ticket, cite, or fine him.


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