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Collett v. Cordovana

August 5, 2020

Plaintiff, Gina Collett, owned property in the city of Norfolk. The Defendants, Margaret Cordovana and 1273 West Ocean View, LLC (“1273 WOV”), owned property on either side of the Plaintiff. In her complaint the Plaintiff alleged that the Defendants were responsible for directing massive quantities of water run off and pollutants from their property onto Plaintiff’s property.  Plaintiff asserted that “instead of draining to the street,” a significant portion of the Defendants’ rain and storm run-off drains to Plaintiff’s property. Plaintiff alleged that the Defendants were liable on the theories of trespass, nuisance, negligence per se, and ordinary negligence. The Defendants filed demurrers asserting Plaintiff had failed to allege specific facts to support the causes of action against them. The trial court sustained the demurrers and dismissed the matter with prejudice. The Plaintiff appealed and the Virginia Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s decision stating there were no facts provided by the Plaintiff that her neighbors acted recklessly or carelessly in modifying their properties. A property owner must show more than that the neighbors dumped gravel and mulch, to support a claim for water and pollutant run-off.