I live in Ohio, this past week my neighbor had a firm who specializes in buying standing timber cut down some trees on his lot. Unfortunately, two 80 ft. wild cherry trees which were approximately 100 years old were cut down which I believe were clearly on my property. What do suggest as my course of action in this matter?
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by gm2149: I live in Ohio, this past week my neighbor had a firm who specializes in buying standing timber cut down some trees on his lot. Unfortunately, two 80 ft. wild cherry trees which were approximately 100 years old were cut down which I believe were clearly on my property. What do suggest as my course of action in this matter?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
First, I would suggest that you make absolutely sure that the trees were, in fact, on your property. You may need, as your evidence, a survey and photos. The surveyor will plot your property boundaries and plot where the tree stumps are in relation to your property boundary. Obviously, if the survey shows that the trees were within your property, the results will be your best evidence of ownership.
Next, I would obtain the services of an expert in tree valuation, to be able to show a judge the extent of your monetary damages; e.g., the fruit value, or timber value, or both, including size of tree valuation variables.
Then, with that ammunition, I would send copies of everything to the neighboring, offending, property owner with a demand for compensation. Failing that, collect all your evidence for a visit to your local attorney (preferably one who practices in property issues).
There may be other issues involved, such as the legality of cutting Cherry trees at all, and/or issues of trespass.
Good luck, and thanks for writing.
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Ohio has a triple damages law regarding tree cutting. The key issue is whether the neighbor acted "recklessly." This usually means: 1) your trees were so far inside your lot line that the neighbor was reckless in not getting a survey, or 2) the neighbor had actual notice that you thought the trees were yours (discussions over the barbeque about how much your cherry trees were worth or where the property line was), but didn't bother to get a survey before cutting the trees.
Dependin on state law, your measure of damages may be the timber value of the trees, or the cost of transplanting new 100 year old trees to the same place, or the diminution in value of your land without the trees. Damages may also include the costs of obtaining a survey.
The moral of the story: don't cut someone else's trees!
Effective Date: 1-1-74
No person, without privilege to do so, shall recklessly cut down, destroy, girdle, or otherwise injure a vine, bush, shrub, sapling, tree, or crop standing or growing on the land of another or upon public land.
In addition to the penalty provided in section 901.99 of the Revised Code, whoever violates this section is liable in treble damages for the injury caused.
Effective Date: 07/01/96
(A) Whoever violates section 901.51 of the Revised Code is guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.
This is not legal advice and you are not my client. Double check everything with your own attorney and your state's laws.
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