Wife and Husband’s divorce was finalized in 2002 at which time Wife was awarded the marital home and property valued at $856,000. At that time, Husband was ordered to return the landscape around the home to an appropriate residential landscape, as he had business equipment on the property. There is no dispute that Husband removed his business equipment.
In 2015, Wife discovered “waste material” on the marital home property that “had caused remediation of the land” causing her to lose $250,000 in the sale of the 3.5 million dollar home. Wife filed a motion with the trial court asking Husband to compensate her for the diminution in value. The trial court denied Wife’s motion finding as a matter of law and fact that the 2002 Order required Husband to “make the property landscape adequate for the landscape of a ‘residence’” not a resale for development or commercial value. Thus, Husband was not required to reimburse Wife for the loss.
Wife appealed arguing the 2002 Order required Husband “to remove all of the buried waste from the entire property.” Husband argued that it only required him to “remove material from the part of the property where he had his business equipment and restore that part to the landscape of a Lexington residence.” The Court of Appeals affirmed the Trial Court and agreed with Husband giving deference to the trial court to interpret its own orders and holding that trial court correctly interpreted the 2002 Order, did not speculate inappropriately, and noting wife’s failure to specify damages at the time of the wrong.
Digested by Elizabeth M. Howell