My 4 acre property is heavily wooded, adjoins Neighbor's property, and is located within metro-city limits in Alabama.
Neighbor decided to have Logger take several trees off his property--pretty much clear-cut. Ended up also cutting 3 of my trees (large ones) and damaging 3 more. Trees are red oak, black walnut, and hickory. Logger says Neighbor marked the trees to be cut. Neighbor says "not" and blames Logger.
Certified Arborist says damage&value is $5700 for the six trees (got written appraisal). I have pictures of the damage. I have copy of my property survey--iron pins marking property are visible and it's obvious that the trees are on my property. I have "proof" Neighbor had a transaction going Logger (received $ at board lumber value for trees). Logger very cooperative and gave me photocopy of the cancelled check they gave to Neighbor for all the trees, plus copy of written contract where Neighbor signed to acknowledge that Logger would repair/pay for damages to Neighbor's driveway (not a very professional contract by the way, no damage bond but at least "proves" there was a transaction of some kind). Since timber theft is a serious issue in Alabama, I believe the Logger is telling the truth and only cut trees marked by the Neighbor and I believe the Neighbor just didn't bother to confirm the property line. This whole thing could have been avoided if Neighbor had contacted me first before cutting...
My homeowners insurance won't cover the trees due to cutting of trees was "on purpose" even though I was not notified and cutting was done without my permission and awareness.
Have contacted Neighbor to ask him to discuss and work out a solution to settle the matter. Have written a letter & sent certified mail return receipt asking for response. Neighbor has ignored my request--has been completely uncooperative in correcting situation/compensating for damage. Lawyer recommended Small Claims Court. Max in Alabama is $3000. Would prefer to not go to court but Neighbor has made no effort to work this out with me. I think I've got a good case. I want to make sure I cover all the bases in hopes the judge will award the maximum allowable of $3000--Would appreciate any advice or pointers on how to proceed.
Reply to post by Lew Bloch, on May 10, 2003 at 08:54:00:
You may want to get the certified arborists appraisal notarized and a notarized letter from the logger. OR better yet, get them both to appear in court with you. Other than that, go for it!!! Lew I think Lew is right on here; have seen cases thrown out of magistrate's court because expert was not there to answer question about report. Wonder if treble damages apply to $3k limit in AL; some legal advice would help there.