Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Posts
    2

    Default Lawsuit Over Cutting Down a Neighbor's Trees

    My question involves real estate located in the State of: Wisconsin

    I want to start by saying two things, first Iím not sure that this is the best area to post this but I couldnít find a better one, and second I do understand that the neighbor B in the following situation has the right to sue Iím more concerned about the damages they are suing for.

    The situation as I understand it:

    Neighbor A clears their back yard of over grown wild trees and shrubs, two of the medium/small wild trees are on Neighbor Bís land. After clearing the weeds and trees grass is put in and the yard cleaned.
    Previous to this and currently Neighbor B keeps their property almost void of trees so now there is continuous grass from Aís yard to Bís yard (it looks nicer).

    Neighbor B sues A for cutting the trees down. I understand up to here that they are in the right as regardless of the tree type and what it looks like before or after the trees belong to B.

    However, when they sue it is for $20,000 to replace the two wild trees, they also want emotional damages as they say they buried their cat under the tree. The ground / cat was not disturbed in the cutting and as far as we can tell it is illegal to bury a dead pet in that area.

    B also owns a very large piece of land and has previously attempted to buy the smaller land from A.

    I am not directly involved so there may be particulars that I am not aware of, but what is listed is true.

    My question is if there is a concern for A to lose the property to B. Additionally, would the court actually consider the $20,000 plus emotional distress to be reasonable for two wild grown trees?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    15,990

    Default Re: Trees Cut Down

    Quote Quoting JGZ
    View Post
    My question involves real estate located in the State of: Wisconsin

    I want to start by saying two things, first I’m not sure that this is the best area to post this but I couldn’t find a better one, and second I do understand that the neighbor B in the following situation has the right to sue I’m more concerned about the damages they are suing for.

    The situation as I understand it:

    Neighbor A clears their back yard of over grown wild trees and shrubs, two of the medium/small wild trees are on Neighbor B’s land. After clearing the weeds and trees grass is put in and the yard cleaned.
    Previous to this and currently Neighbor B keeps their property almost void of trees so now there is continuous grass from A’s yard to B’s yard (it looks nicer).

    Neighbor B sues A for cutting the trees down. I understand up to here that they are in the right as regardless of the tree type and what it looks like before or after the trees belong to B.

    However, when they sue it is for $20,000 to replace the two wild trees, they also want emotional damages as they say they buried their cat under the tree. The ground / cat was not disturbed in the cutting and as far as we can tell it is illegal to bury a dead pet in that area.

    B also owns a very large piece of land and has previously attempted to buy the smaller land from A.

    I am not directly involved so there may be particulars that I am not aware of, but what is listed is true.

    My question is if there is a concern for A to lose the property to B. Additionally, would the court actually consider the $20,000 plus emotional distress to be reasonable for two wild grown trees?
    It depends entirely on what the replacement cost of two trees, of the age of those trees, would be in your area. At a minimum you should get some quotes to use in court. It also depends on whether or not the judge would be sympathetic to their emotional distress.

    Why did you cut down trees on someone else's property?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Trees Cut Down

    The big issue with those items you listed is that the trees are not ones you can buy in the store, they are wild trees that just started to grow.

    As I stated I'm not directly involved in this situation, just close to the person who did this. To answer your question, the person who had the trees cut down hired a company to cut down the back yard and flatten it to grass.

    I'm not sure if they just assumed that the trees were all part of the lot or how the mistake happened. Basically, the lot was covered with weeds and small wild trees, and the lots on either side were and still are flat grass. I think the person they hired just assumed it was all part of the lot.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    98,846

    Default Re: Trees Cut Down

    Tell the person who is actually involved in the matter, and who is being sued, to discuss the actual facts of the case with a lawyer.

    The facts matter. If you don't know them, there's not much point to trying to discuss them.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    15,990

    Default Re: Trees Cut Down

    Quote Quoting JGZ
    View Post
    The big issue with those items you listed is that the trees are not ones you can buy in the store, they are wild trees that just started to grow.

    As I stated I'm not directly involved in this situation, just close to the person who did this. To answer your question, the person who had the trees cut down hired a company to cut down the back yard and flatten it to grass.

    I'm not sure if they just assumed that the trees were all part of the lot or how the mistake happened. Basically, the lot was covered with weeds and small wild trees, and the lots on either side were and still are flat grass. I think the person they hired just assumed it was all part of the lot.
    I agree with Mr KIA but I will also point out that there is little difference between a "wild tree" and a tree that is purchased from a nursery. They are still trees, and they are still whatever kind of tree they were.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    98,846

    Default Re: Trees Cut Down

    That's correct. Some "wild" trees can have tremendous market value, even if they weren't planted intentionally, due to their age, appearance, and the nature of the wood. There's no rule that makes a "wild" tree any less the property of its owner, or any less valuable than an intentionally planted tree, merely because the owner let it grow from natural germination instead of buying and planting a sapling.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    17,624

    Default Re: Trees Cut Down

    Quote Quoting JGZ
    View Post
    As I stated I'm not directly involved in this situation, just close to the person who did this.
    DUH. Tell the person to immediately notify his/her homeowners insurance company so that the insurance company can defend him/her against the lawsuit.

    Quote Quoting JGZ
    View Post

    To answer your question, the person who had the trees cut down hired a company to cut down the back yard and flatten it to grass.

    I'm not sure if they just assumed that the trees were all part of the lot or how the mistake happened.

    Yet another reason to notify homeowners insurance about the lawsuit.

    Depending on the exact circumstances there's a chance that the homeowner could be relieved of liability and the claim fall to the people that actually cut down the trees.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Posts
    988

    Default Re: Trees Cut Down

    I've seen some,very big equipment used to install mature trees of no particular market value for someone to whom cost was no concern....

    I'm not sure if to cut a tree down by mistake as to propery line is a slam dunk negligence point....even if it was, the damages mighT be the diminished propery value the owner actually can prove...

    And what does your HO policy say?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    15,990

    Default Re: Trees Cut Down

    Quote Quoting HRinDEVON
    View Post
    I've seen some,very big equipment used to install mature trees of no particular market value for someone to whom cost was no concern....

    I'm not sure if to cut a tree down by mistake as to propery line is a slam dunk negligence point....even if it was, the damages mighT be the diminished propery value the owner actually can prove...

    And what does your HO policy say?
    Nope...there is case law all over the place on this particular issue...no diminished value issues on this subject.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    98,846

    Default Re: Trees Cut Down

    In Wisconsin, the losses from the wrongful harvesting of timber are defined by statute, and the formula to be applied by the court varies based upon the circumstances under which the trees were cut, with damages to be awarded even if the tree removal was performed in good faith reliance on an erroneous survey:
    Quote Quoting Wisconsin Statutes, Sec. 26.09
    (3) Damages.

    (a) A person against whom an action is brought as provided in sub. (2) is liable for the applicable damages under par. (b) or (c), subject to sub. (6), and other reasonable and necessary costs under par. (d).

    (b)

    1. A court shall award damages that equal the stumpage value of the raw forest products harvested if the person harvesting the raw forest products or the person giving consent for the harvesting reasonably relied upon a recorded survey that was done by a person who is licensed under ch. 443 as a professional land surveyor even if the recorded survey is determined, after the harvesting, to be in error.

    2. A court shall award damages that are equal to 2 times the stumpage value of the raw forest products harvested if a recorded survey was not relied upon as specified in subd. 1. but the person harvesting the raw forest products took reasonable precautions in identifying harvesting boundaries.

    3. A court shall award damages that are equal to 4 times the stumpage value or 2 times the fair market value of the raw forest products harvested, whichever is greater, if a recorded survey was not relied upon as specified in subd. 1. and the person harvesting the raw forest products did not take reasonable precautions in identifying the harvesting boundaries.

    (c) In addition to the award under par. (b), a court shall award the owner of raw forest products that were harvested without the consent of the owner, any economic damages resulting from that harvest.

    (d) A court shall award other reasonable and necessary costs, which may include costs for any of the following:

    1. Repair of damage to, or cleanup on, the land from which the raw forest products were harvested.

    2. Removal of slash from agricultural land, waterways, highways, private roads, trails or other sites where the slash would interfere with reforesting or replanting.

    3. Determining the fair market value, the stumpage value or the volume of the raw forest products that were harvested.

    4. Determining the location of property boundaries necessary for determining whether a violation occurred.

    5. Preparing forest management or reforestation plans.

    6. Reforesting.

    7. Replanting by direct seeding or by use of seedlings.
    The measure of damages is predicated upon the stumpage value of the trees removed, but could also include as economic damages any diminution of the value of the property as a result of the loss of the trees.

    1. Sponsored Links
       

Similar Threads

  1. Utilites Cutting Trees in Easement
    By akwulf in forum Real Estate Ownership and Title
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 07-15-2010, 04:05 PM
  2. Threatened With a Lawsuit for Cutting Down Neighbor's Tree with Permission
    By scottwilliamsonoc in forum Real Estate Ownership and Title
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 12-21-2009, 11:54 AM
  3. Neighbor Cutting Trees on Our Property Due to Easement
    By singingcs in forum Real Estate Ownership and Title
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 09-21-2009, 07:47 AM
  4. Cutting Down Trees in Easement
    By sjeakins in forum Real Estate Ownership and Title
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 12-26-2008, 07:55 PM
  5. Cutting Down Trees in Easement
    By sjeakins in forum Real Estate Ownership and Title
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 12-24-2008, 01:28 PM
 
 
Sponsored Links

Legal Help, Information and Resources