A dispute between neighbours ended when a judge sided with the plaintiff, but the "winner" of the seven-year-long ordeal was only awarded $1 in damages.

The bizarre case began when Randy and Karen Greenwood sued their neighbours, Harold and Marlene Hoffer, over a driveway partially built on the wrong side of the property line.

In a document outlining his reasons for judgement, Hon. Justice Gordon C. Weatherill wrote that the case arose out of "an unfortunate and ongoing dispute" between the families.

The dispute began seven years ago, and continues to this day, he wrote.

"The dispute is over a small section of driveway that was constructed, through no fault of any of the parties, on the lot owned by the Greenwoods."

Weatherill wrote that the Greenwoods bought land in a Maple Ridge subdivision in 2007. The lot had been developed by real estate development group Epic Homes, based in the same city.

The lot next to the Greenwoods' was purchased by the Honeymans, who sold the lot to the Hoffers in 2010.

When the Hoffers took over, they learned through city hall records that the Greenwoods' back fence encroached onto their property. A short time later, the Greenwoods found out that part of the Hoffers' driveway spilled onto their land. The driveway was built erroneously by the property's developer, not by the Hoffers themselves.

The Hoffers asked the Greenwoods to relocate their fence, but the Greenwoods hoped to reach an agreement to leave things as-is, since of the Hoffers' driveway was on their property.

The Hoffers did not accept the trade, and the Greenwoods paid for their fence to be moved off their neighbours' yard.

They then insisted that the Hoffers remove the part of the driveway from their property. The Hoffers refused, but said the Greenwoods could do whatever they wished.

The piece of asphalt on their lot was less than four square metres, the judge said. It remains on the Greenwoods' property.

"To the extent that there ever was a neighbourly relationship between these parties, it quickly deteriorated into bickering, intimidation tactics, hostility, and what, in my view, can only be described as juvenile behaviour," Weatherill wrote.

Four years ago, the Greenwoods decided to take their neighbours, and the property's developers, to court. The claim made against the developer was settled, Weatherill said, but the claim for trespass against the Hoffers reached the province's Supreme Court.

The Hoffers sought an order saying they were not guilty of trespass, and wanted the claim to be dismissed entirely.

In his verdict, Weatherill wrote that the Hoffers merely purchased the property, and weren't aware of the issue for some time.

"For whatever reason best known to the Hoffers, instead of resolving the issue in a neighbourly way, they chose, instead, to deliberately and in a highhanded manner, intimidate the Greenwoods regarding this petty issue," he wrote.

But the Greenwoods did not make matters better by taking steps themselves to remove the small portion of driveway.

"Inexplicably," he wrote, the Greenwoods decided the matter would be best resolved by a lawsuit, which did nothing but officially announce their ill feelings toward each other.

He said he knew that the Hoffers drove across the area on the Greenwoods' property on occasion, and said he believes it was done knowing full well that it would antagonize the Greenwoods.

"However, to the extent there was a continuous trespass, I find that it was trivial in the extreme, that no loss or damage in respect of that continuous trespass has been either pleaded or proven," Weatherill said.

He awarded nominal damages to the Greenwoods, but of a sum of only $1. The plaintiffs' counsel also sought an award for aggravated damages over ongoing hostility, but the judge said no claim was made.

"Had such a claim been pleaded, I would have been inclined to make a modest award in the case."

But when it came to costs, the judge initially decided both parties should have to pay their own legal costs. He wrote that he agreed with their counsel, who said the matter should have been brought to small claims court.

While the initial claim was filed against the Hoffers and the property's developers, and that perhaps more could have been proven against the other defendants, the Greenwoods settled with the developers out of court.

During the course of legal action, the judge added, the Hoffers had sent a settlement offer to the Greenwoods offering to pay $3,000, plus some expenses to remove the driveway.

"Plainly, that offer to settle ought to have been accepted, if not on the date it was received, then shortly thereafter."

Upon learning of the offer, the judge decided that the Greenwoods should have to cover the Hoffers' costs from the date that the offer was made.