A landowner has an obligation of lateral support with respect to his/her adjoining land. However the landowner is not required to provide additional lateral support to the adjoining land if it is filled, raised or otherwise improved from its natural condition.
In, XI Props. v. RaceTrac Petroleum, Inc.,[i] the Court held that principles of strict liability are followed when the land is in its natural and unimproved state. But they are not applicable to land that is altered by additions or construction so as to require additional lateral support. If adjoining landowner alters his/her land by filling and raising the level of the land above its natural state, there is no right of lateral support from landowner with respect to the altered portion of the land. Thus, a landowner does not have the obligation of lateral support with respect to adjoining land if the owners of the adjoining land altered the natural topography.
Court in, Vikell Investors Pac. v. Kip Hampden, Ltd.,[ii] held that a landowner is entitled to lateral support from adjoining property only to the extend needed by the land in its natural state, before it was filled or altered. Court further stated that, the right to lateral support does not change simply because the rear of the lot has been filled.
[i] 151 S.W.3d 443 (Tenn. 2004)
[ii] 946 P.2d 589 (Colo. Ct. App. 1997)