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Depositions 7, Court Testimony 0
<Guy Meilleur>
3 years ago a landscraper topped 7 sugarmaples and they died. Owners sued, and the case settled this morning after the jury was selected. Some notes:

Liability ins does not protect against malpractice. The treecudder still can be exposed to damages not covered by ins.

Consulting is scarier than other treework. I was ready to testify as the expert witness, and psyched to defend some aspects of my appraisal report, like a 100% Species Rating, that looked vulnerable. Won't go above 95% again.

Depositions count. I've given 7 now, and all 7 cases settled before trial. Relieved I didn't get attacked in court, but much more regretful that I missed the chance to score some points there too, and to get experience in court as an expert. magistrate's hearings do not give one a pass from the Dobbert test.

Consultants count. Unlike many, the lawyer in this case was no dim bulb--summa cum laude from Harvard--but the appraisal report carried much of the case.

Consulting is fun. After a couple decades of learning and experience, arborists might consider selling their opinions.

Toppers and other treerapers can and should be made to pay. Tree owners need not feel intimidated if they have arborists' support.

OK back to work now.
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Hello my name is Pat Manning. Your current message in this forum was interesting to read. Back in August of 2003 you had responded to a message I posted on the ISA discussion website titled Damage Appraisals Help! Since that time I did hire a RCA for an appraisal. The appraisal was conducted in December of 2003. The original count made in May of 2003 was 26 trees. Once the area was cleaned for a better look, there over 100 trees cut down and/or overpruned, given the additional trees that were found were only 1-2"" they were trees cut down without my permission. The appraised damage was set at >$45,000. My attorney has been dealing with the tree trimmers insurance company now for over 4 months but the best they offer is $5000. We will be filing the petition for the law suit this week, which I understand will open up even more discusions such as depositions and disclosures prior to any court action. You sound a little disappointed that you have not had to appear in court, and likewise I have never had to appear in any kind of court in my life. It sound as if the guilty parties are likely to want to settle prior to a court date, at least in your experiences. Have any of these disputes happened in Texas? Is there a percentage of the appraised damages vs. what is finally settled on that is typical? The trimming company has acknowledged the negligence in this dispute, but seem to disagree in the amount of damages set. If you have any additional information, I would greatly appreciate it.

Thank you
Pat Manning
Posts: 1 | Registered: Tuesday April 27, 2004Report This Post

I'm working on a story about tree appraisals in Texas and would like to speak with you a bit if you get a chance. You can reach me at 469-330-5648.

Paul Meyer
Staff Writer
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