Eric Dane and Rebecca Gayheart vs. Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan in the Case of the Terrible Tree

Hollywood couple takes legal action against the alt-rock hitmaker for a tree on his Beverly Hills property that toppled onto their house

By Josh Grossberg, Claudia Rosenbaum Oct 03, 2012 9:32 PMTags
Eric Dane, Rebecca GayheartAndreas Branch/ USA; Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

If a tree falls in a forest ritzy Los Angeles can bet there's going to be a juicy lawsuit to follow.

And with that we bring you the case of Eric Dane and Rebecca Gayheart and their Smashing Pumpkins neighbor Billy Corgan. The McSteamys are suing made over a Nov. 30, 2011, mishap in which abnormally high winds caused a large eucalyptus tree on the rocker's property to fall on the couple's Beverly Hills home and apparently wreaked major damage.

Per the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, a copy of which was obtained by E! News, the erstwhile Grey's Anatomy star and his actress wife allege trespass, nuisance and negligence.

Why did McSteamy have to die?

In court papers, the Danes claim Corgan ignored warnings that his eucalyptus trees could potentially keel over when hit by powerful Santa Ana winds and failed to address the matter. When a powerful storm finally did occur, one of the trees became uprooted and landed on the Danes' house, breaking power lines and a sprinkler system.

As a result, Gayheart—who was nine months' pregnant at the time—was forced to evacuate with the couple's 20-month-old daughter and navigate through a flooding home that was surrounded by "live high voltage wires." While they were able to make it out without injury, the complaint claims the family has been unable to live in the residence until repairs finish up later this month—and they say the singer has showed zero concern.

"Despite his knowledge of the incident and the significant damage it has caused to the Dane dwelling, Corgan has failed to show any remorse, to reach out to the Danes in any way, to make restitution for the significant damages he caused, or take any measures to remove the remaining improperly maintained and/or rotten eucalyptus trees from the Corgan property," reads the suit.

The Danes are seeking an injunction against Corgan requiring him to attend to the other trees on his estate that may pose a danger. They're also asking for unspecified general and compensatory damages.

A lawyer for Corgan could not be reached for comment. However, the alt-rock god did express sympathy to ABC News, telling the network the Danes' claim that he was warned beforehand about his trees is "patently untrue."

"I was horrified when I learned about the tree falling…Thankfully, no one was injured," said Corgan, adding that the legal brouhaha is a "shame…because [Eric and Rebecca] are nice people."