logging co cut trees off my property

acesaMarch 16, 2012

A neighbor had a timber company remove timber from her land. The company ignored my property stakes,which were clearly visable. They removed 15 oaks and pine trees majority being pine. Without my permission. When I made him aware he stated he was allowed to make x amout of error by law. Told me to take him to court. He offered me $200.00. I became furious I 'm left with a sloppy property line, 15 tree stumps removals ($100t)each. I have owned this property since 1993 and some of the trees are at least that old. I'm seeking advise before I retain a lawyer. He left a check for $200.00 which I refuse to cash. The check has his name on it as

none of his equipment did. Any advice would be helpful.

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pineresin

Find out the cost of 15 replacement trees of similar size (including planting and the after-care contract necessary to ensure establishment), and sue for that amount.

At a very rough guess, you'd probably be looking at claiming around $10,000. Maybe much more depending on the size of the trees lost.

Resin

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 9:15PM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

IMHO, he's bluffing. Don't sue, file charges of theft of property at your local police department. Have him arrested. Each mature tree adds value to the property, plus they have value in and of themselves. So those 15 MATURE trees are worth thousands which is the reason he came across the property line and stole them. So treat him as a thief, same as someone coming onto your property stealing your car, tractor, lawn mower, jewelry, of just plain cash, and he knows it. There is absolutely NO difference. Just like stealing shoes from the mall. Don't cash the check, as if you do, that constitutes acceptance of terms (i.e. accept the value of the trees as $200). On the other side, him leaving a check to pay for his thief is an admission of guilt in the eyes of the law. It even has his signature of admission. Do threaten him, don't warn him, don't communicate with him in anyway. Go to the police department now, and have him arrested. That will get his attention, and don't settle for restitution and drop charges until he pays out the yahoo. This is what I would do, teach him a lesson.

JMHO
Arktrees

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 9:30PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

There's probably more to this than many people imagine. Your options concerning this situation will depend on the specifics of the case and YOUR state law. Many states do set limits on liability for mistaken timber harvest, but $200 is highly likely to be way less than what the guy is actually liable for. Here's what I would do:

1. Document everything thoroughly! Take date-coded pictures of property markers, fallen trees (if they are still there), stumps, etc. Get the details recorded as completely as possible.

2. Call the South Carolina State Forestry Commission at 803-896-8840 (ask for the law enforcement department). Go over the details with them, and see what they have to say. They should be able to give you valuable information about your options.

3. Evaluate what they say. Hopefully, they can get enough information about the specifics of your case to give you some guidelines and options. You may get a surprise, either way (positive or negative) depending on the specifics.

4. Get back with us and let us know what you found out. I've seen people spend lots of money on lawyers in situations like this and come out with next to nothing, but I also know that many states have laws with some pretty big teeth in them for situations like this.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 9:49PM
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krnuttle

Many years ago I had a 1.5 acre lot that was to be divided into two 3/4 acre lots. We had a beautiful tree 8 - 12' diameter on the second lot that was a couple feet from the lot line on my property. The state came in with one of those huge rotary cutters and took it out. while they were clearing the right of way.

While I consider it a lot to be built on and the tree a thousand dollar asset on that lot, I had to settle for $75. The logic was on in a natural woods, and could not be consider a tree in a lawn adding value to the property.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 10:01PM
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calliope(6)

What Brandon said. They even have a website.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 10:41PM
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krikit

I have a friend who had a similar situation here in TN, and the law here (at that time) provided for 3 times the value of the trees because, like you, his property line was marked. He said if the property line had not been marked he'd have only gotten the actual value of the trees. Good luck with whatever you decide to do - attitudes like that of the logger are so very sad!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 4:51PM
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spruceman

acesa:

I had a 35 foot Japanese larch cut by the electric company. It was clearly outside their right of way. I got paid $2,000.

--spruce

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 6:00PM
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ilovemytrees(5b/6a Western, NY)

I would sue them for thousands of dollars! I am so sorry that this happened to you. How cruel of them to do that!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 7:19PM
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farmboy1(5)

I would agree with Arktrees and Brandon, be aggressive in pursuing this thief. What he did is not much different than stealing the wheels and tires off your car. These guys do that knowing they can usually get away with just giving a check for chump change, and most homeowners won't make the extra effort to do anything more.

Good luck and keep us posted!

vince

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 10:32PM
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scotjute

Recommend you measure diameter of each tree stump and develop a list. Photos of each tree stump with ruler showing size would be helpful in establishing your case.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 12:29AM
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