Illegal Charter Communication cable without easement.

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Latest post 05-03-2010 7:09 PM by Taxagent. 7 replies.
  • 05-03-2010 4:05 PM

    • DELL6305
      Consumer
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    • Joined on 05-03-2010
    • MO
    • Posts 4

    Illegal Charter Communication cable without easement.

    In March the neighbors on the back of our large suburban yard built a new fence and like good citizens, had the utility people out to mark all the cables, etc.  Lo and behold, Charter placed a row of flags about 5 yards into my property, marking their cable serving several houses in the subdivision across the fence.  I contacted Charter's engineer, they came out and took pictures and agreed they had been conducting interstate commerce illegally through my property (I'm not a customer).  I asked them to leave the cable (the evidence) until this was sorted out.  Their attorney contacted me, told me they had essentially snuck out, not trespassed, unhooked the cable at one end and pulled out about 90 yards of cable.  He acknowledged they had three cables total: two in the utility easement of the subdivision and one on my property.  He also said the youngest cable was put in 2007 and he "couldn't" say about the other two (15-20 years????).  He told me I had no damages and to flake off.  I agreed there were no damaged trees, etc., but they owed me for an easement for the x-number of years they used my land.  They won't answer my calls.  Any ideas other than filing a complaint with the FCC?

  • 05-03-2010 4:13 PM In reply to

    Re: Illegal Charter Communication cable without easement.

    There was no easement unless a prior owner had given one to the cable company. Instead, it is an issue of trespass. However, to get more than nominal damages for the trespass, you'll have to show damages.

    You can complain to the FCC, though it doesn't regulate that particular aspect of the cable business. You can also complain to the state utilities commission if it regulates cable companies in your state. You might also complain to the local government that gave the cable company the franchise--they sometimes have the most clout since they can revoke or modify the franchise when it comes up for renewal. But none of that is likely to get you any money.

  • 05-03-2010 4:16 PM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 03-30-2000
    • PA
    • Posts 49,165

    Re: Illegal Charter Communication cable without easement.

    So who is going to remove the poles?



  • 05-03-2010 5:24 PM In reply to

    Re: Illegal Charter Communication cable without easement.

    DELL6305:
    He told me I had no damages and to flake off. I agreed there were no damaged trees, etc., but they owed me for an easement for the x-number of years they used my land. They won't answer my calls. Any ideas

    Yes.

    Get over it.

     

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • 05-03-2010 6:02 PM In reply to

    • DELL6305
      Consumer
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    • Joined on 05-03-2010
    • MO
    • Posts 4

    Re: Illegal Charter Communication cable without easement.

    The Missouri public service commission regulates telephone/internet, but not cable TV.....they suggested the FCC.  Charter is a headache in St. Louis.  My suburban city gave up regulating them ("too many complaints") and turfs it to the state and FCC.  This seems to me to be like the surgeon who leaves a sponge in the belly; i.e. res ipsa loquitor should apply.  Even though the patient wasn't significantly harmed, there are consequences.  Otherwise why wouldn't Charter just do whatever it can get away with, then when discovered just say: "my bad, we didn't hurt you."

  • 05-03-2010 6:04 PM In reply to

    • DELL6305
      Consumer
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on 05-03-2010
    • MO
    • Posts 4

    Re: Illegal Charter Communication cable without easement.

    No poles, underground (a few stupid inches with a lot of leaves piled on top).  Great subcontractors they have.

  • 05-03-2010 6:16 PM In reply to

    • DELL6305
      Consumer
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on 05-03-2010
    • MO
    • Posts 4

    Re: Illegal Charter Communication cable without easement.

    I think that's one option.  On the other hand, at the time they were perhaps hiding the cable in 2007, the city attorney of Clayton, Missouri (the county seat) was warning Charter that they couldn't do business in Clayton without paying for legal easements to cross private land....they have a history of abusing private citizens.

  • 05-03-2010 7:09 PM In reply to

    Re: Illegal Charter Communication cable without easement.

    DELL6305:
    This seems to me to be like the surgeon who leaves a sponge in the belly; i.e. res ipsa loquitor should apply.

    You misunderstand the principle of res ipsa loquitor. In the case of a medical malpractice or negligence action, a plaintiff must show, among other things, that the defendant was neligent. Simply because the defendant did something that caused harm is not itself enough—the defendant must have been negligent. For example, if a doctor fails to diagnose cancer but did do all the tests, etc., that competent doctor would do given the patient's symptoms and the patient suffers a significantly worse medical outcome because of the missed diagnosis, the doctor is not liable in malpractice because he was not negligent: he did what he was supposed to do and the cancer simply wasn't revealed.

    Res ispa loquitor helps a plaintiff establish the negligence. It is a Latin term meaning "the thing speaks for itself." It is used in the law to situations that, by their very nature, could not have possibly occurred other than by the negligent act of the defendant. Leaving a sponge in a patient is always negligent; the doctor should keep track of the sponges and ensure that none are left in the body. There is no medical justification for leaving them in there. Thus, res ipsa loquitor helps establish the negligence.

    However, even then the plantiff must still prove damages. If the sponge left in the body caused no damages, the patient has nothing to recover in the lawsuit, regardless of the fact that the doctor screwed up. Tort law is meant to compensate for the harm done, not give plaintiffs effectively a windfall from the defendant's actions. The idea is to make the plaintiff whole; not punish the defendant nor make the plaintiff better off than he would be without the defendant's actions.

    So, again, here you'd need to show damages from the trespass to win damages. Yes, they needed some kind of easement to run the lines over other people's property. And if they don't get it, you can keep them from putting the lines there and can force them to remove the lines if they put them there anyway. And you can sue for any damages that result. That's a decent package of rights. What you don't get is the right to hit up the company for a lot of money over and above the damages you actuallly incurred.

    DELL6305:
    Otherwise why wouldn't Charter just do whatever it can get away with, then when discovered just say: "my bad, we didn't hurt you."

    Corporations make those kinds of cost/benefit decisions all the time.

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