Italian designer loses €75k damages case over tree roots

Francesca De Cataldo claimed damages for repairs to a wall.

An Italian designer, who claimed €75,000 damages for repairs to a wall, turned out to be “merely a tenant” and not the owner of property she alleged had been damaged by tree roots, a judge said today.

Francesca De Cataldo gave the Circuit Civil Court an undertaking in March 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. Yesterday, Ms De Cataldo was in court to see her claims against Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council and Abberley Management Company Limited, thrown out by Judge Jacqueline Linnane.

Barrister Francis Daly, counsel for Dun Laoghaire-based Abberley Management, had asked the court to dismiss Ms De Cataldo’s claims on the basis they were vexatious, frivolous, without merit, and an abuse of process. Liam O’Connell, counsel for Dun 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 Rd, Killiney, Co Dublin, had initially failed to inform the court she was merely a tenant in the property and not the owner.

In March, she had sought to recover damages of over €80,000, which had later been reduced to about €40,000, for damage allegedly caused to a wall on the property by the roots of the trees along a laneway. 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.

Judge Linnane dismissed Ms De Cataldo’s claim, with costs, against Abberley and struck out her claim against the council, also with costs.


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