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Owners of Historic Joe Engel Farm Sue Construction Crew Accused of Damaging the Property

— December 2, 2019

Pratt Land & Development Company and others were recently named in a lawsuit alleging they trespassed on the historic Joe Engel farm and damaged it.

Pratt Land & Development Company and James Wright Construction were served with a lawsuit filed by two Hamilton County property owners who allege the defendant have been “illegally trespassing onto their property, damaging real property, destroying large growth trees, damaging their driveway, and taking historical pieces of artwork which included decorative baseballs formerly owned by Joe Engel, the long-time owner of the Chattanooga Lookouts and the visionary of the Historic Engel Stadium.” For years the plaintiffs, Phillip and Emily Goldberg have been working to preserved the historical significance of the estate.

Joe Engel
Joe Engel; image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons,

According to the Goldbergs, they purchased the eight-acre property back in 2017. According to the suit, the property has been a “historical piece of the East Brainerd community since the 1930’s and included Engel concrete baseballs which Joe Engel had commissioned as decorative artwork to show the significance of the property and reflect his love of baseball.” What happened, though? How did the plaintiffs damage the property? Well, when commenting on the situation, attorney Bryan Hoss said:

On the morning of July 30, 2019, the plaintiffs claim that Pratt and Wright employees illegally trespassed onto their property driving heavy excavation equipment across the property, damaging landmark architecture, structure, and agriculture. During the trespass, Pratt and Wright employees knocked down a no trespassing sign, demolished a trove of old growth trees, and dumped construction materials using the trespassed property as a dumping ground and parking lot…Imagine coming to your property where you were going to build your dream house and finding your large shade trees, not just knocked down, but totally gone. Stolen. Imagine finding your driveway in bits and pieces. And your beloved Engel concrete baseballs stolen?”

Hoss added, “My clients spent months telling Pratt and his employees about their property, their love for it, and the historical significance of the property including the landmark baseballs. And in one fail swoop, the developers destroyed it.” According to the suit, even though the defendant’s have been notified of the damage they caused to the property, it hasn’t stopped the “developers from continuing their destruction.”

It’s also important to note that the Goldberg’s property was separated from another property with a silt fence, meaning the defendants should have know where the property lines were. Hoss said, “A silt fence separated the two properties in question. Any reasonable developer would have seen the silt fence sitting about 100 yards away, and would have told their employees where the property line was located. The developers in this case only missed it by the length of a football field.” 


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