Statute Is Not The Exclusive Remedy For Damages Caused By Tree Cutting

2013-07-12 | Joseph M. Busher

Category: Real Estate


The Supreme Court holds that although the legislature may eliminate a common law right by statute, the presumption that the legislature does not have such a purpose can be overcome only if the legislative intent is clear.  The Connecticut tree cutting statute, C.G.S. § 52-560, does not contain an exclusivity provision or other language indicating that it is an exclusive remedy.  The statute allows an injured party to obtain three times the reasonable value of the tree as timber under certain circumstances and enhances the common law remedy for the value of trees as timber.  This statutory remedy is not, however, exclusive.  Recognition of a common law remedy allowing an injured party to recover the diminution in the value of his land neither conflicts with the remedies provided by § 52-560 nor frustrates its underlying purpose. Caciopoli v. Lebowitz, SC 18894 (June 25, 2013)

Cases involving the cutting, trimming, or other unauthorized damage to trees owned by neighbors can become extremely contentious and emotional. Trees can add considerable value to real estate, and Connecticut law regards the wrongful damage to, or removal of, trees to be a potentially serious matter. Sometimes neighbors take the law into their own hands, and trim trees that do not belong to them in an unlawful manner. On the other hand, negligently maintained trees can cause damage to neighboring properties, and may constitute hazards to property and safety. Regardless of which side of the dispute that you are on, these kinds of issues can have serious legal consequences.

Trees can be the source of dispute between neighbors. Sometimes one neighbor plants trees very close to the property line thereby causing problems to the other neighbor’s property. View blockage is sometimes an issue, and Connecticut law is complicated concerning this subject. Roots from certain types of trees on one neighbor’s property sometimes cause damage to adjacent properties. Ideally people will resolve these problems without lawyers. Unfortunately, however, this is not always possible, and sometimes when a dispute of this type exists, you need a lawyer. Our Firm is experienced in tree-related disputes. We have a proven track record of negotiating settlements, as well as taking cases all the way to trial and verdict.

Whether lawsuits of this type involve double or treble damages, or punitive damages, the fact is that these lawsuits are serious. If you are a plaintiff, you will need experienced attorneys to represent you. If you are a defendant, this is equally true. Our Firm has considerable experience in representing litigants in these actions and is prepared to undertake competent, cost-effective representation.

Our first approach is always to attempt to negotiate with the other side. Most lawsuits or disputes can be and are resolved without recourse to a trial and verdict. However, if negotiations are not feasible or successful, we are fully prepared to take the case to trial to enforce and protect your rights.

If you are involved in a dispute of this type, please contact our Firm at 860.278.4040 to speak to an attorney. Your phone consultation is always at no charge, and if it appears that you have a case requiring representation our Firm will arrange for a follow-up, in-person consultation with an attorney at no charge or obligation to you.

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