Walnut trees allowed to shed their nuts on cars, Frankfurt court rules

A district court in Frankfurt on Friday ruled that a woman who sued her neighbour for close to €4,000 in damages to her car must deal with nuts falling from trees.

Walnut trees allowed to shed their nuts on cars, Frankfurt court rules
Photo: DPA

Walnut trees may shed their nuts, judges in the court concluded, adding that this autumnal occurrence is “a fact of nature” and must be tolerated.

The ruling came after a woman in the financial hub had complained that her car had been damaged by nuts falling from a neighbour’s tree.

According to the claimant, walnuts and branches bearing walnuts fell onto her vehicle due to strong winds one night in October 2013, “causing dents to the body, hood and roof.”

The woman then sued her neighbour for €3,866 to cover the costs of repairs for the damage to her vehicle along with interest.

But the defendant argued that the branches of the walnut tree extended 1.5 metres into her property and that he regularly cut back the tree's branches. 

“In order to completely rule out the danger posed by falling fruit, the only logical conclusion is the possibility of entirely cutting back the fruit-bearing tree in question or surrounding it with a safety net,” the ruling read.

This option would be unreasonable as well as undesirable in German cities, it added.

The claimant will have to pay for the cost of the court case. Within one month, she can lodge an appeal.


Emergency numbers fail in several German states

Callers to the emergency numbers 110 and 112 weren’t able to reach operators Thursday morning in several German states.

The 112 emergency number on an ambulance.
The 112 emergency number on an ambulance. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Boris Roessler

The emergency number 110 for police and 112 for fire crews failed around the country early Thursday morning, with callers unable to reach emergency operators for urgent assistance between about 4:30 am and 5:40 am local time.

The Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Aid is looking into these outages, which were reported in states including Lower Saxony, Baden-Württemberg, and  Brandenburg, and in major cities like Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, and Frankfurt. Cologne was further affected by cuts to electricity, drinking water, and regular telephone services. Lower Saxony also saw disruptions to the internal phone networks of police and hospitals.

Emergency services are not reporting any more disturbances and people should be able to once again reach 110 and 112 around the country as normal.

Investigators are looking into the problem, but haven’t yet established a cause or any consequences that may have happened due to the outage. Provider Deutsche Telekom says they have ruled out the possibility of an attack by hackers.