By Shawn Chitnis
DENVER (CBS4) – Two neighbors in Cherry Creek North went to court Friday months after one of them filed a lawsuit arguing he cannot use his own garage because of the way his neighbor parks his car.
“This isn’t the crime of the century, with all do respect,” Judge Michael Martinez said in court. “It’s a pretty straightforward case.”
Both sides acknowledged it seemed like a waste of the judicial system’s time to take on this case but still went through opening arguments, cross examinations and closing statements. Evan Neubeiser says last fall his neighbor, Ryan Haley, stopped parking his SUV on the street because it was sideswiped, broken into, and he received several street sweeping tickets. Haley started parking his SUV behind his garage, which connects to an alley across from Neubeiser’s home.
“It’s ridiculous that I have to go to the extreme of filing a lawsuit,” Neubeiser told CBS4 in March. “Neighbors should be able to work this stuff out”.
Haley’s defense team pointed out in court several times that the City and County of Denver inspected his parking spot and said it was legal. The defendant made the case to CBS4 as well earlier in the year.
While his attorneys hope the judge will see this case as a minor inconvenience, Neubeiser argued that it was a serious disturbance that rose to the level of a “nuisance” defined by city code. After both sides called witnesses and each neighbor took the stand, the judge asked for proposed finding of facts and conclusions of law to be submitted to the court in the next four weeks.
Martinez has served as a judge for more than two decades and presided over criminal cases that began as disputes over a parking spot. He shared with the courtroom that three cases were homicides. The judge hoped it would be an important reminder to avoid letting disagreements escalate and encourage them to find an agreement.
“Life is too short to live it in conflict over something like this,” he said.