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Thursday, July 26, 2012


Graphic courtesy of Rich Tinker, NOAA
 As the dry conditions continue in the midwest, and across the county, people have jokingly asked us what we, as lawyers, can do about that.  

Answer: not much.  But, there may be legal implications worth noting.  
For example, if your yard is as dry as ours, you need to be very careful about any burning you do (some areas have burn bans in place).  There have been legal cases where a careless fire has resulted in legal liability for:
  1. a tenant who caused a yard fire that destroyed a rental house, and consumed or damaged a neighbor's home
  2. a neighbor who let a fire get out of control that spread to adjoining property;
  3. a field fire that got out of control causing huge smoke clouds near an adjoining highway resulting in a five (5) car/semi "pile-up" that resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages from personal injuries and property losses;
  4. a lawn fire that resulted in burns to a child who was curious and in harm’s way.
Check your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy to see if you are covered for such losses.  Better yet??  Don’t start fires outside in the present conditions of this widespread drought!

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