Cranky Neighbors Drop Lawsuit Against Parents Who Built Play Set for Their Terminally Ill Boy

Colton Costa standing in front of the play set
Kim Costa/Facebook

In the suburbs, squabbles with cranky neighbors are nothing new. Most of them are over relatively innocuous things, such as fences that extend a quart of an inch beyond the property line or an overgrown rose bush that the guy next door somehow can't stand. But last week, one mom's Facebook post shared a heartless neighbor story that seriously takes the cake. According to Kim Costa of Georgetown, Texas, her neighbor filed a lawsuit over a playscape she set up in the backyard for her sick child -- a playscape the neighbor considered to be nothing more than an "eyesore." The internet became so outraged, the couple eventually dropped their suit.

  • "Who has ever heard of being SUED over a playscape?" Kim asked in her January 18 Facebook post.

    Apparently, no one -- until now.

    In case you've never heard of the term, a "playscape" is generally an outdoor space comprised of two or more pieces of playground equipment, often surrounded by wood chips or soft padded flooring to prevent scrapes and bruises. These play sets encourage kids to engage in imaginative play, and run off all that extra energy they have outside. (You know, the kind of stuff we're always saying kids don't do enough of anymore.)

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  • But according to the Costa's neighbors, the newly built playscape is bringing down their property value.

    (Yes, even though it sits on the Costa's property, which is a 1-acre lot.)

    "They call it an eyesore and have told us multiple times it goes against our HOA," Kim wrote.

    Although the couple claims they tried several times to put up a privacy fence, the homeowners association repeatedly denied their requests, which left them, well, kind of at a loss for what else to do.

    Meanwhile, their neighbors were busily drafting up a lawsuit seeking $100,000 in damages. (Yes, really.)

  • The story is pretty mind-boggling -- which is probably why Kim's post was shared thousands of times after she first wrote it.

    But there's even more to the story than meets the eye -- and once you hear it, it'll probably be hard to keep your jaw from dropping.

    You see, the Costas haven't had an easy road these last few years. Their son Colton, who is the reason for erecting the playscape, has been through some difficult health challenges. He's endured a bone marrow transplant and suffers from a terminal illness known as Hurlers Syndrome, which can make many days difficult on all of them.

  • Speaking with ABC10, Kim shed a bit more light on Colton's struggles.

    “Hurler affects every organ system, every part of the body," Kim told the station. "So he does have hearing loss and he got his glasses, I think, when he was about 18 months old.”

    Sadly, the genetic disease has no cure, and is ultimately fatal.

    “For our family, a lawsuit is something we never envisioned – especially over something like this," Kim shared. "We’re just trying to give Colton the best life he can because, unfortunately, statistics show that Colton should not live past his 20s.”

    So even though it may look like just a simple backyard playscape to someone else, for Colton, his new play equipment helps take his mind off other things. And that, even in its smallest doses, is huge.

  • As fury over the lawsuit spread, the Acostas' neighbors were publicly identified as Richard and Carole Gottleib.

    The couple's lawsuit claimed that the playscape "cannot be properly screened by the ADRC [the subdivion's Architecture and Design Review Committee] due to the fact that it was allegedly not reviewed before installation – and thus will remain in violation of ARDC guidelines as long as it is allowed to stay in its location," ABC10 reported.

    But according to Kim, that just isn't true.

    “My husband submitted documentation of how big it was, exactly where it was going to go on our lot, and the ADRC approved it," she shared.

    As for what the Gottleibs hoped to achieve? The lawsuit requested that the playscape either be permanently removed or altered to comply with the committee's guidelines. 

  • In the meantime, the Costas had no choice but to wait and see what the law would decide. In fact, that's exactly why Kim decided to share their story.

    "I come to you all asking for prayers," she concluded the January 18 post. "Prayers for guidance during this time trying to navigate a lawsuit like this. Prayers for our neighbors to soften their hearts and realize how much stress this is putting on my family. And prayers we find a resolution to this situation."

  • But it looks like their prayers have been answered -- less than a week after Kim first posted about it on Facebook.

    In an update to her original post, Kim wrote that "the lawsuit has officially been DISMISSED! (For now anyway!)" 

    "Thank you all so much for your prayers and support!" she continued. "We are blown away with the amount of love our family has been shown! Now we can focus on what’s truly important -- our time together as a family."

  • Although no further details have been provided yet, the Costas are breathing a sigh of relief. (At least for now.)

    New of the lawsuit being dropped comes just days after Kim's post went viral and was flooded with comments of outrage from people all over Facebook.

    "Shame, SHAME on those neighbors!!!!!" wrote one user, before adding that the Gottleibs would likely get their "karma" for this.

    "That’s horrible some people are so petty," wrote another. "Sorry for what you are going through."

    "It's sad that there are so many people with nothing but HATE In their hearts," added another commenter. "Sad what our world is becoming. The playground is beautifully built and gives a child with a life threatening disease some joy. HOW could you dispute something like that?"

    A GoFundMe page was even set up for the family, in hopes of helping to offset legal fees they might incur. So far, it's raised more than $2.6K towards a $20K goal, though there is no word on whether the page will be shut down now that the lawsuit has been dropped.