Water Property Damage As a Result of Landfilling

In Crest Chevrolet-Oldsmobile-Cadillac, Inc. v. Willemsen, 129 Wis. 2d 129, 384 N.W.2d 692 (1986) the defendants in Crest developed a previously unimproved, low-lying lot by land-filling it to a higher elevation than the plaintiff's adjacent lot, causing surface water to accumulate on the plaintiff's property. See 129 Wis. 2d at 133-134. The trial court dismissed the plaintiff's action, concluding that the defendants had reasonably developed their property, and that any diversion of surface water was neither intentional nor unreasonable conduct on their part. See id. at 135. The supreme court's analysis focused on the reasonableness of the defendants' conduct because there was no dispute that the defendants had engaged in intentional conduct (land-filling their property to divert surface waters) that caused damage to the adjacent land. See 129 Wis. 2d at 138.