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A sidewalk settlement in Chatham

A broken sidewalk in the town of Chatham might mark the intersection of property law, local government, and torts.

It seems there is a nasty break in the pavement in front of the historic and beautiful Pittsylvania County courthouse. According to the Star-Tribune, it’s bad enough that several residents have tripped and fallen. Some lawyer may already be trying to figure out how to wrangle a personal injury suit against the appropriate agency.

That’s where the property law issue comes in. The paper reports that, for years, the county and the town have disputed ownership of the broken sidewalk. Neither claimed it.

Rather than wait for a lawsuit to resolve ownership, however, the county now has stepped up to the plate and approved money to fix the sidewalk. We will all walk easier.

By Peter Vieth

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