Last month, we reported on a man whose neighbors had spent the last six years trying to keep him from working on cars in his own garage. While these neighbors insisted Charles Williams was running an illegal repair shop, a judge decided last week that he couldn't find anything wrong with what Williams was doing. It appears the issue has been resolved once and for all: The judge has issued a decision denying any further claims against Williams.
that Judge Sam Glasscock denied the neighbors' request to tear down Williams' garage, as well as their request to have Williams cover their legal fees. Judge Glasscock did acknowledge that the Williams' ceiling trusses or floor slope might not be up to code, but he saw no evidence that those potential code violations had injured the plaintiffs in any way.
"To find, as the plaintiffs argue, that all property owners in Sussex County have standing to enforce the building code would, I fear, result in inefficient and pernicious litigation," . He also called the lawsuit "officious intermeddling" and a nuisance.
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The judge also agreed that the lawsuit wasn't about code enforcement at all. In his opinion, "if Williams tomorrow brought the building up to code, the plaintiffs would be entirely unsatisfied; their real complaint is with the use of the shop for auto repair, not the allegedly noncode-compliant slope of its floor."
So there you have it. Williams' garage isn't a nuisance, his neighbors aren't allowed to enforce perceived code violations with a lawsuit, and he can go back to working on cars. His legal fees have also been covered by . And while the neighbors who sued Williams had originally said they would appeal all the way to the Delaware Supreme Court, hopefully this latest ruling will be enough to lay the issue to rest.
"Praise the lord, I'm elated. I can breathe deep now," Williams told the Cape Gazette.