Why you shouldn't give a utility verbal permission to do work on your property.
Thomas Hannah admits he initially gave SEMCO ENERGY oral permission to enter his property to expand its gas main easement. He became upset, however, when Semco refused to return the land to its original condition, and also refused to work with him to document the location and extent of the new encroachment. He then attempted to revoke what he claimed was a limited oral license. Ultimately, he filed suit alleging trespass and other violations by Semco, however, he rejected a Case Evaluation that would have awarded him only $5,000.00.
At trial, the jury concluded that he had, in fact, given Semco unlimited verbal permission to revise its easement and this decision eviscerated any foundation for a trespass claim. Adding insult to injury, the Court then awarded Semco more than $34,000.00 in sanctions against Hannah, since he had rejected the earlier proposed settlement.