Daily Decisions: A Case About an “Unsightly and Barren Goat Enclosure”

I don’t think there is much new to discuss regarding Gander v. Yeager (Division 2, April 10, 2012), but it does involve some neighbors arguing about goats. So that’s something. And the case may be of some interest on the topic of appellate review of fee awards. Maybe. Oh, and the Chutzpah Doctrine makes an appearance as well, so there’s that. But anyway, on with the case…

Back in 2005, there was a boundary dispute out in Bainbridge Island between (1) the Ridingses and (2) Malcolm Gander and Melanie Keenan. The Court refers to Gander and Keenan as Gander/Keenan “intending no disrespect.” I am going to refer to them as G/K, but I want to be clear that I don’t intend any disrespect either! The Ridingses and G/K settled their dispute pursuant to a written settlement agreement. The agreement provided that G/K shall not disparage the Ridingses and vice versa. Disputes regarding the agreement were subject to arbitration.

Four months after this settlement agreement, the Ridingses sold their property to Karen Keefe. Keefe then claimed that G/K began harassing her in violation of the agreement by, among other things, “operating ‘an unsightly and barren goat enclosure,’” “‘allowing the goats to bleat and cry for extended periods before feeding them,’” “putting goat waste along or very near the property line,” and “operating a chainsaw for extended lengths of time near Keefe’s home for no apparent purpose.” I hope that the chainsaw had nothing to do with the goats. Continue reading