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Title: Illegal timber harvest (PA)
I own about 30 acres of beautiful forest next to another 30 acres owned by my 80 year old uncle who never really goes into the property, which is surrounded by about 80 acres of property owned by a mining company. A few weeks ago the mine company had a couple crews up here falling and collecting timber. Upon further investigation, I found the company completely ignored the actual property boundary and spray painted a new property line 500ft+ onto mine and my uncles property, as well as cut down several big oak, cherry, walnut, hickory, and maple trees. Now I am not sure if I should contact the police, an attorney, the mine company, or is there is even anything I can do?
LAOP is about to own a mining company, I feel.
Will be interesting to see how the trees are valued.
The huge valuations per tree come from the fact that transporting and replanting a large live tree is insanely difficult. And if it's a tree in your front yard you can argue for restoring your yard to the previous state. But the price of logging rights or even cut wood is hundreds of times less than "move and plant identical fully grown trees here".
If this is on the far side of a decent sized forest on their property that they rarely visit, it's possible that instead of full replacement cost they only get a much smaller sum.
Not a lawyer: wouldn't making the victim whole always mean replacing the tree? I don't get how not seeing the tree often changes that
Most of the time being paid fair market value for some destroyed item is considered making the victim whole.
If someone totals your car, you get paid its market value and can't insist on having that particular car repaired no matter the cost. If you own a parcel of land in a logging forest far away and someone cuts them down - you will get paid according to the lost logging income. A judge is not going to force anyone to replant identical trees so that you can cut them down again later.
But trees in your front yard, a hedge between your and the neighbours' house, etc all have obviously more "beautiful property" value than the cost of wood, and having them replaced makes sense. It will be interesting to see which of these valuations gets considered in this case.
The compensation for the car is because you can get an equivalent car from the compensation. You can't get another tree just from the value of its wood though. Compensating only for the wood is essentially stating that chopping the tree down is fine, and the damages occurred when the wood was taken away. That doesn't sound right.
That depends. If the tree was being grown for lumber, then potentially being "made whole" would be a sum of money equal the eventual yield of the tree's lumber, which can probably be estimated.
If the tree is being used to improve the view (like say, in your backyard), then being "made whole" would be a sum of money equal to the cost of replacing the tree, which can't really be accurately estimated, but is REALLY HIGH.
Who knew the law could be this complex?
IIRC it depends on where the "value" of the tree lies, so it's not necessarily that great a cash value.
If the value lies in some form of lumber, then restitution requires return of the timber or it's cash value.
Whereas if the tree itself serves a function (e.g. a windbreak, shade, fruit or some sort of decor) then the the adult tree itself needs replacing, at comical expense.
My thought exactly. Considering a mining company is getting cracking there, having the additional natural block to their sounds, machines, etc may have a decent value beyond most people on here looking at this as garbage land in the woods. I live on a corner, and we have trees that block the road that leads into our neighborhood. In the leafy months, it blocks the lights and sounds of most of the inbound traffic, which would be really annoying to have shining into our house at all hours. So if they argue the diminished value based on the loss of the barrier, they may be able to get a bigger payout than without that claim.
“Adult tree needs replaced”
That’s not how it works. If the tree is larger than what is commonly available in local nurseries then the replacement cost per square inch of the same or like species (nursery size) is extrapolated to the subject tree. Then the basic cost is depreciated based on its condition, functional limitations and external limitations. Based on that calculation you get a monetary value.
However, if the tree resides on a residential property then it is a function of property value.
Hedonic regression studies have shown that single mature trees rarely contribute more than 2% of a property’s value. A high-quality landscape, as a whole, may contribute between 4% and 10%.
As explained by someone else far smarter than I am:
In the case of a noble chestnut tree in a homeowner's front yard, the tree's value is its contribution to the homeowner's overall property value (which is large, but difficult to quantify). Making them whole therefore involves giving them a noble chestnut tree again (in whatever fashion that can be done).
In the case of "some woods out on the back 40," the woods add to the property value, but probably less than the single showpiece tree in the first example, and each individual tree in "the woods" is a negligible contribution to the whole. Cutting down several trees out of 40 acres of trees robs you, the owner, of several trees' worth of saleable wood, and nothing off your overall property value (since "the woods" as a whole are still there).
In this case, the mining company damaged LAOP's property by reducing 60 acres of wood to 58 acres (or whatever), so the damages they inflicted are basically the difference in cost between 2 acres of wooded land in Middle-of-Nowhere, PA and 2 acres of cleared land in Middle-of-Nowhere, PA. Not a heckuva lot, and can probably be made whole by planting some saplings and moving on. The damages are not an arbitrary 5 figures per individual tree, as LegalAdvice seems to love to believe.
OP should figure out how old the trees and forest are. If they’re old enough, that will change some things. Old growth forest has a lot of value.
True. Very old trees that can possibly yield high quality timber, are quite expensive. Not "My neighbor cut down my 5 mature suburban fruit trees" expensive, but still quite a lot.
If it's just 10 year old future firewood, not so much.
The only real property I know is what was on the Bar exam (so close to nothing) but the law probably treats commercial logging and forestry differently than a family home. With commercial logging damages are probably calculated by the value of timber, not the value of having a big old growth tree in your front yard where you live and enjoy it daily (and it effects your property values).
These would be damages in tort, not real property--most likely trespass to property and conversion. The nature of the real property involved in the tort isn't relevant to a determination of damages. Tort damages exist to make the injured party whole. It's up to the injured party to prove these damages to the Court or jury. These damages can be awarded so long as the other elements of duty, breach, and causation have been proven (and intent for conversion since it is an intentional tort).
The question of damages in this case would be how the parties decide to frame the case. If the plaintiffs can prove that they need fully grown adult trees for some reason, then the jury could reasonably conclude that installation of new trees is necessary to make the plaintiffs whole. Plaintiffs might go after the reasonable value of the trees if they were sold. They also might seek the cost of planting new trees and the care involved in raising them to the age of the removed trees. They could look for loss of property value. In my jurisdiction, if Plaintiffs are able to prove willful and wanton misconduct then they may seek for punitive damages. These damages are intended to punish and deter rather than compensate Plaintiffs. Punitive damages might be available in this case. Any combination of these damages might be available, again, depending on how Plaintiffs frame their case.
I can't speak to everywhere, but that's how it works in my jurisdiction. I think it's fair to send it to a jury and say, "What amount of money damages will make Plaintiffs whole?"
EDIT: It looks like LAOP's jurisdiction statutorily provides for what may be allowed. There are four types of damages: 1) The costs of establishing the value of the timber, 2) The costs of complying with erosion regulations, 3) The costs of surveys obtained related to the lawsuit, and 4) The value of the timber which may be multiplied if the logging company acted with intent or negligence. These statutory damages would trump any damages based in common law.
(a) General rule.--In lieu of all other damages or civil remedies provided by law, a person who cuts or removes the timber of another person without the consent of that person shall be liable to that person in a civil action for an amount of damages equal to:
(1) the usual and customary costs of establishing the value of the timber cut or removed and of complying with the erosion and sedimentation control regulations contained in 25 Pa. Code Ch. 102 (relating to erosion control);
(1.1) the cost of any surveys obtained in connection with the civil action; and
(2) one of the following:
(b) Restitution.--Any damages awarded under this section shall be reduced by any restitution which is made under 18 Pa.C.S. § 1107 (relating to restitution for theft of timber).
(c) Definitions.--As used in this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:“Timber.” Standing trees, logs or parts of trees that are commonly merchandized as wood products.“Market value.” The value of the standing timber at local market prices for the species and quality of timber cut or removed at the time it was cut or removed.
How does that deliberate/negligent/reasonable work out, if, say, the logger hires a subcontractor to mark the boundaries, who marks them negligently or deliberately, but the actually cutting was done with the expectation that they were correct?
Not saying that's got anything to do with OP's situation, just wondering how that works in cases where the negligence or malice was apart from the actual damage.
That's up for the fact finder (jury or judge) to decide in regard to the particular facts of the case.
The key point here is that causation must be proven in relation to the negligence or the intentional act. Causation usually has some element of foreseeability which typically means as follows: "Would an ordinarily reasonable person or company in the same circumstances reasonably foresee that such actions would cause damages?"
The jury would look to the company's precautions in hiring a subcontractor to draw the boundary lines. If an ordinary logging company would have reason to suspect that they were not logging appropriately, then negligence might exist. If a jury finds that the company knew that the logging was inappropriate, then they would probably be liable for the triple damages.
Now let's imagine that the logging company was reasonable and could not have foreseen that the subcontractor mis-marked the boundary. If the subcontractor was negligent, then they should also be included in the lawsuit under a theory of negligence. If they were intentional, then they might be included under some other theory (maybe fraud? I haven't thought too hard about it).
I don't know exactly how Pennsylvania judges would handle this situation in relation to the damages. They would probably make the miners/loggers pay for the cost of the
lumber. (edit: timber) The statute anticipates situations where there is no fault on the part of the miners/loggers. The subcontractor would probably pay the additional damages (the double or triple value) if the subcontractor was negligent or intentional. If the judge finds that the plaintiff can't recover from the subcontractor under this statute, then they would likely be able to recover under common law negligence.
So the court decides that the damages are based on what the offender intended to do with what they were damaging, not how the victim intended to use their property. That's absurd.
That's actually the opposite of what you are responding to. It doesn't matter who cut the trees down for what purpose. What's viewed is what purpose they served for the owner. Trees lining your backyard provide property value. Individual trees among your acres of trees don't.
The goal is to make LAOP whole, so the value of the trees will be accommodated. Whether the trees they cut impacted his property value depends on the specifics of the case, and is much harder to forecast than a single tree in a yard.
Civil courts don’t like windfall awards. The cost of putting LOAP’s forest back to its original condition is probably many, many, many times the value of the virgin property. Such an award wouldn’t be justice.
Yes it would. They took the trees illegaly. Anything less than returning them is not fair.
Business gets closed because they took more than they can repay? Good lesson for other business to respect people's property.
You’re entitled to your opinion, but I and the courts view that as waste, not justice. There is no good reason to invest millions of dollars to move mature trees around in the Pennsylvania hinterland. Not when LAOP can buy another lot with mature forest down the road for thousands.
Laws that benefit corporations over people? Color me shocked /s
But yes I realize that legally my opinion is wrong. That's why I'm not a lawyer, I'm too opinionated.
The thing I haven't seen be considered yet is what OPs intention with the trees are. It makes sense that the cost to make OP whole is the value of the timber if the forest is for logging, but if the forest instead was designed and maintained as a place for nature, one where the trees wouldn't be reasonably cut down, wouldn't OP have a case for the value of the trees?
It’s not that one-sided, at least not in this instance. Lots of these tree law posts are neighbor-on-neighbor. And LAOP could just as easily have hired a timber company to harvest his land and accidentally or negligently encroached onto the mine’s property.
Anything less than returning them is not fair
It's a case of usefulness. If a gold bar were to be destroyed, the value and function of the gold bar is... having value. If the value of the bar is $5000, it's not realistic to demand the return of an identical gold bar if the cost to procure it would vastly outpace the value derived from selling it. Being "made whole" would mean an equivalent value in money or an equivalent gold bar.
Likewise the primary value of trees in a forest is the value of the timber. There is no other, quantifiable value, such as the view from one's home.
Nonsense. If a pawn shop melts down my gold bar, ring, or whatever else, I demand they track down every individual atom of gold and other impurities that were in it and re-assemble them to their exact original form. Anything less is an injustice that cannot stand, and the cost of the atom-tracking technology and atomic re-assemblers should be a lesson to be more careful next time. /s
sigh I miss the days where it would have gone without saying on Reddit that you were being sarcastic because who the fuck could be that crazy right? What happened?
No, if your neighbor cuts down the oak tree in your yard to use the lumber your damages are based on the value of that tree on your yard, not the value of the wood. But the value of timberland isn’t in individual living trees, it’s in timber, so damages aren’t going to be based on the cost of transporting dozens or hundreds of mature pines back into a timber forest. Damages are supposed to compensate you for the value of what was lost (plus whatever punitive damages may apply under the law given the facts of the case), and the value of a tree is contextual.
And in the case of timber it’s highly suggested that seedlings are used to figure replacement.
Source: am plant appraiser.
how do you replace say a 100 year old tree? I mean they can replant a sapling or something but that's far from replacing the tree.
It is sometimes possible to transplant large, established trees, but it's phenomenally expensive and you stand a good chance of killing the tree in the process.
I can't even move my potted eight foot ficus four feet to the left without it getting pissy and dropping like fifty leaves.
Hence the five to six figure sums. Tree law if a favorite for a reason.
You don’t. There are appraisal formulas to extrapolate the cost per square inch of cross sectional surface area of a replacement tree to the cross sectional surface area of the subject tree. Then that value is depreciated by the condition, functional limitations and external limitations of the subject tree. The value from that calculation is the value of the damaged tree. Appraisers absolutely have to figure the value of a plant as a function of real estate value if it sits on a residential property. A single mature tree rarely contributes more than 2% to a property’s value.
Generally, to get an equitable remedy, there must be no adequate remedy at law($). So here, timber forrest trees - adequate remedy would be cash. A 100 year old Japanese maple, cash may not be adequate.
Yeah this is lumber value maybe x2 and maybe the cost of planting appropriate saplings. A court isn’t going to order a mining company to transplant acres of forest.
They should still get in severe trouble for basically coming onto his land and fucking his shit up.
+500ft is no minor mistake, they knew what they were doing when they moved into his land.
OP said that the mining company had a surveyor come out and survey the land before they began cutting. The Surveyor was the one who incorrectly marked the land.
There’s a possible chance that the mining company honestly thought it was their land, and the mistake would go to the surveyor.
Or it's possible the surveyor is correct and OP mistakenly thought the land was theirs.
Either way, the surveyor didn't do the cutting. It'd be for the mining company to sue the surveyor - who, one assumes, would contact his insurers.
Lumber can be worth ALOT especially depending on the subspecies of the trees, especially the walnut and oak trees. If they are black walnut and white oak they can get up there in price depending on the quality. My family had a logging company come out and take down a bunch of trees that got damaged in a bad windstorm. Well the dumb shit logger came out and thought he'd pull one over on us and clear cut about 2 acres of black walnut on our property as well. That didn't work out to great for him because after the lawsuit he had to shut down his company, file for bankruptcy and lost his license for logging in my state. Unfortunately we didn't see a penny but the judgement was in the high 5 figures.
Top comment in the link explains PA has a statue covering this. OP will only get the fair market value of the chopped wood. This is a rare time where tree law does not rain down justice but rather actually screws the tree owners over. Stupid timber lobbies.
My guess is upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars per tree. There have been multiple recent posts in legal advice and other similar subs (pro revenge, etc...) about people suing to replace a 50yr old oak tree and getting around $200,000 for it.
Maybe, maybe not. In PA we still use metes and bounds, and some of the descriptions are just hilariously bad. I went to school in a jx with a grid system, seeing PA’s descriptions was utterly dumbfounding.
I own a triangular piece of property where two legs of the triangle are state highways, and the third intersects a neighbor’s property where the iron pins indicate the beginning of an easement they have for their driveway. To find THAT line, you have to stand at the pin, orient yourself a few degrees off North (magnetic or what?) and measure 12ft.
The corner delineated by the state highways, though,... that’s a doozy. I must find an iron pin that is in a different municipality, on private land, about 3 miles away, and use that as the center of a circle, where the outer edge of the circle defines the boundary... only it doesn’t and the Commonwealth owns two silly acute triangles on either side of the property.
Part of the neighbors carport is on my land, part of my smokehouse is on his. It’s gonna end up being an adverse possession issue, lol
While much of PA uses metes and bounds you'll find a fair number of counties on lot and block.
PA is extremely lenient with the regulations surrounding mining. For example, the engineering design and permitting costs surrounding a new natural gas development (which people here feel is way under regulated) in PA that would cost $100k, probably only cost $30k for mining and most of that is geotech and survey. They really don't have much in the way of permitting (which is why this was able to happen in the first place).
Anyway, most of these mining companies are subbing out their survey work specifically for this reason. The land owner has an uphill battle, but if he wins, he'll be getting paid most likely by the surveyor's insurance, which is usually capped between $1mil to $2mil for this kind of work. The surveyors working for these mining companies are usually pretty small operations. Most likely the surveyor will lose his license/insurance and go out of business and the homeowner will only be able to collect what is paid out by the insurance.
PA is extremely lenient with the regulations surrounding mining
Thanks, Republicans and other obstructionist anti-environmentalists /s
They really need to fix that.
I doubt a court would shield a contractor/owner from liability if a subcontractor damages a third party like that. Especially if their insurance is woefully inadequate to cover the damages that you could reasonably expect to happen.
and a company surveyor is about to have their ass kicked
Congrats and best wishes on your new venture, LAOP!
cut down several big oak, cherry, walnut, hickory, and maple trees
It's like a tree law bingo card, we just need Sequoia and Mulberry to get a full house.
God I love every tree law post.
Makes me want to go into tree law.
Makes me want to live again!
inhales all of the oxygen
Tree law, bird law, and the elusive bee law posts are the holy trinity of r/legaladvice
wait, there are actual bird law posts?
Or is it more like "someone stole my parrot"
"my neighbor cut down a tree with a rare bee hive and a condor nest in it. Am I entitled to his first born?"
I get so fucking excited that it annoys my wife
I hate waiting for the update though.
I never knew how much I loved tree law. And now I find myself breathlessly awaiting the next post about tree law.
And somehow a Saguaro cactus.
I'm not familiar with cactus law. Is it similar to tree law?
In AZ, Cacti that are on state land are protected species. And I believe they're marked to prevent illegal harvesting. So as a result, Saguaro cacti that are on private lands can be horrendously expensive. And those with arms are even more expensive. It's one of those things that like, the height of the cactus dictates the price, and the amount of arms are typically multipliers. I've heard of cacti with no bird-holes selling for upwards of $25k.
Here's some fun facts!
Saguaro Cactus don't typically grow an "arm" until they're 75-100 years old can live well past 200 years.
The largest (tallest) near Carefree, Arizona, estimated to be more than 200 years old, measures a circumference of 7 feet, 10 inches (2.4 meters) and stands 46 feet high (14 meters). This particular cactus was burned in the Cave Creek Complex fire and may not survive much longer. It was once the largest Saguaro in the world, two others have been found recently that have tied it's measurements.
Subscribe to cactus facts
It's a felony in Arizona to steal or damage protected native plants. (IANAL, was in the cactus business) Even to be moved, saguaros have to be registered and tagged.
Full house? That's not how bingo works! You're not even a lawyer, are you!?
/s if that wasn't obvious.
"HNNNNNGGH" is the noise the lawyer will make when this case is presented to them.
Full tree house?
If anyone here is curious WHY it costs so much to transplant a large mature tree (successfully mind you) this may be a bit illustrative:
And now my day is complete. If only work would let me go home now.
And don't forget, transplanting large trees is very traumatic for them. If they die, you have to do it again.
I imagine this is because a huge amount of their roots get cut off? Can they put extra fertilizer/water in new soil to help the tree acclimate or is it just them hoping for the best?
Yes and it's hoping for no infection to set in through all the cut roots. Trees are like animals, their skin protects them from outside baddies that want to get in. Normally enough water satisfies the transplant.
Just as a fyi, putting fertilizer on newly planted (or transplanted) trees can actually slow their ability to take root, or cause them to only establish shallow roots where the fertilizer is. Fertilizer mainly helps the tree grow up, so if you add it to early it makes the tree spend energy growing leaves/branches instead of sending that energy to the roots.
There are special rooting compounds that are used instead. They're applied to the cut roots directly, or to the soil it's being put into.
The Compton Oak, the apotheosis of transplanting. It's just a tad bigger than the ones in the gif, which are already ridiculously big.
The tree is thriving now despite some setbacks over the 5 years leading to the update video. They found at first the tree was holding too much water so they created a sump-pump French drain combination to help the tree. Also the tree has been dealing with a supposedly non-treatable fungus, but with the help of some experimental treatment the tree seems to be doing well.
I liked the "Movement goes faster than anticipated" bit. Plot twist!
Disney World keeps backups of trees for the parks. It's a sight to see them quickly swap a dead one for a live one.
The Entmoot has been summoned, it seems.
That URL is enough for an upvote. I've never seen something like that but it makes sense why it's so expensive.
I wonder what the chance of those surviving is? The root system is typically the same size as the branches, so they have to cut off 90% of the roots to get it on the truck.
There is no liability to have these trees replaced with transplants, based on statutes in PA. They get money and nothing else.
*MacBeth voice* Oh shit!
Need this in American Truck Simulator.
Not to mention just getting a tree like that OUT of the ground
I want to believe these posts pertaining to tree law because they're so good. But I feel we as followers of LA are just being led by the nose by those looking to farm those sweet magical internet points given the recent surge in their popularity and increased occurance.
I agree. I'm getting sick of them because at least one of them has admitted to being a troll.
Who posted possibly the most popular tree law post this sub has seen:
what an asscock
I mean it's pretty short for a LA post so it looks pretty sketchy
Yeah, they're so popular both here and in LA so they're a guaranteed karma grab.
Hello legaladvice, my house was surrounded by a few acres of 200-year old saguaro cacti and sequoia trees. My neighbor got mad at me because he thought they were ugly and cut them all down on video. Do I have any legal standing?
Against a mining company, no less. Not just some dumbfuck neighbors with a negative net worth, but a mining company.
TREE! LAW! TREE! LAW!
It's amazing to see how much trees can go for. I recently contracted a forester for my moms property in SC, about 20-25 acres. We were expecting to get 5-6k for the wood, we got 25. He said they found old growth, high quality hardwood and it shot the price up.
There's a world of difference between old growth and new. Modern cedar lumber is still coasting on a reputation for decay resistance earned by centuries-old heartwood that isn't available at any price these days. It's still a lot better than average, but it ain't like it used to be. Your old growth wood is worth a ton because not only is it quantitatively better, it's effectively irreplaceable in the developed world where remaining old growth is protected from mass harvesting.
You're right. I don't think the land was ever harvested. My Dad bought it from his Dad and I think there was some crappy, dilapidated cabin on the property. The forester said there was 80+ year old oak/hardwood on the property.
We were lucky to get a reputable forester because someone could have easily said "Yeah you just have a bunch of pulpwood, here's $5k" and we would have been happy.
The man respects his craft, and fears the Tree Law. Both are powerful motivators for honesty.
Similar story for Redwood, I work with water tanks and it's painfully obvious when staves have been replaced. Real old growth redwood was rock hard and had some absurdly true grain. I've seen well maintained old tanks closing in on a hundred years old. With anything harvested today the staves start peeling apart between growth rings within 10 or 15 years.
Why don't they make water tanks out of something more durable than wood nowadays?
Your mom found some high quality hardwood? Good for her! Get it girl!
I found it for her ;)
And that was AFTER they took their cut
Wait, so only about $1k/ac? That's actually way less than I thought timber went for.
You HAD to make me go through my email archive, eh? :)
Here are the stats (Rounded):
Pine Sawtimber (Regular): 500 Tons
Hardwood Sawtimber (Grade): 50 Tons
Hardwood Sawtimber (Misc): 143 Tons
Pulpwood (Pine): 400 Tons
Pulpwood (Hardwood): 950 Tons
Total Tonnage: 2,000
Total Sale: $24k
Survey fee: $1,950
Foresters fee (10%): 2.4k
When they first started, they estimated 17k in value of wood, but the forester said that they found a huge swath of old growth hardwood on the last day and it shot the price up to 24k.
LAOP stated they think the surveyor marked the property line incorrectly. Does the mining company employ their own surveyor or will the surveying company be liable for the replacing the trees?
Depends on the mine but most have a surveyor or someone who does the surveying on staff- that person is rarely a certified and specially trained in legit surveying though, as it’s rarely necessary to have civil engineering level accuracy and getting good results with gps equipment is not that technical- and a lot of equipment has gps on board anyway so staking out things in the field is less and less necessary. Day to day a dedicated surveyor wouldn’t have much to do.
Depending on the size and age of the mine they also may have their own coordinate system for their maps and surveying- and that can be difficult to convert to latitude/longitude accurately.
Modern mines are usually a patchwork of historic claims that have very irregular boundaries when combined, it’s easy to get the edges wrong if not careful, there may always be older or wrong maps in use too.
It’s possible that if they were doing stripping (clearing vegetation and soil to get down to the rock) they may have had a contractor hired to do that- as extra development projects outside of daily production can take more people and machinery that the mine needs to keep the ore moving, its typical to hire that out if it’s big enough. If so that an extra several set of ears to misinterpret the project and property line.
Most mines and quarries are not independent mom and pop places anymore, so likely they can afford the damages- or more accurately corporate can.
...it also entirely possible that things were staked out correctly and the dozer operator just went right on past it.
To be legally called a surveyor and to conduct a survey, they must be certified/licensed. You don't, however, have to be licensed in surveying, to set up a harvest boundary.
Actually, this is a heavily inaccurate statement. You do not have to be certified or licensed. A licensed surveyor does need to sign the work however. I've worked as a surveyor in several states and several companies for years, and have never had a license myself.
What I was getting at is a mine usually doesn’t have a “real” surveyor, but an engineer that can push buttons on a Trimble. Nothing being day to day surveyed in a mine requires legal certified expensive survey work, there’s usually not enough surveying of any kind to keep a single person busy all day anymore. Surface anyway, underground you can’t cheat and use gps.
Miner tree law!
And thankfully no minors.
Yes, I will happily take miner law week over minor law week any time.
Plot twist - mining company is owned by a trust set up buy one of those crazy billionaires for one of his pets when he died - in this case, a baby mynah bird.
Making it The Case of the Minor Mynah Miner...
Take my upvote.
LAOP gon get paid cause that's probably a fuckload of trees
Here in Seattle some assholes in a rich neighborhood clear-cut hundreds of trees to enhance their already great view. This caused erosion and was estimated to be about 15mil.
Sadly the City was willing to settle for a pittance.
Tree Law Professional Expert Witness here. NAL. Not your expert witness. Probably a lil late to this thread.
I do a lot of timber trespass cases. Honestly, I don't think this guy has much of a chance. If the survey was recorded and they didn't dispute it with a survey of their own, they likely won't stand a chance in court. It all depends on how long ago "awhile" was when it was recorded. The judge will look at it and say they should've contested the survey as soon as it was done.
Now, if the survey issue stands and somehow there was an error or they're still within the window to contest it, it's still not going to garner the hundreds of thousands. These trees were in a forested setting. They do not get treated for replacement value UNLESS they were being tended and cared for in some way (fertilized, pruned, planted for landscaping, etc). They are owed the timber value times damages, which in the state of MI is triple. They may also be owed damages for cleanup as well, but that depends on the site condition. There is no feasible way they will replant with large trees in a forested setting as there's no way to bring a transplant truck back into a woods like what LAOP is describing.
LAOP needs a certified forester, usually a consulting forester that is registered/licensed in the state in which the trespass occurs to do a 3rd party assessment of timber value based on stumps and adjacent trees. It's possible, but a PITA and can be costly at $50-$500 an hour for labor.
Helloooo tree law! Hellooo girl wood!
When user name and comment intersect.
Just gonna paste my comment from the last tree law post
"Hey Mom, can you give me legaladvice karma?"
"For legitimately interesting legal situation?'
actually posts about tree law like a boss
Just for kicks, I will do a back-of-the-envelope calculation to estimate how much legal advice is going to cream their bureaus when they see the [UPDATE] tag.
Now we used to grow Australian hardwoods, and expected a density of about 50 trees per acre, but that's not old growth. 'We consult Information about old growth for selected forest type groups in the eastern United States.' by Tyrrell et al. which lists 25 trees per acre for an uni-modal old North American forest.
Assuming that the properties make up a square, 60 acres corresponds to about 1616 x 500 feet of property (18 acres). This equates to about 450 trees at a conservative estimate. Please get a napkin BOLA, you've started to drool and it's unseemly.
Just based on my perusal of tree law posts on legal advice, I would guess that each old-growth tree might be worth on the order of $50,000. Does $22.5 mil +-10 mil sound like a pleasing number?
Yeah, it’s probably actually a $2,000-$4,000 per acre. Maybe double that for negligence.
(Edit: Actually probably less, it looks like to buy timberland in PA goes you’ll shell out than $3,000/acre.)
Ah bugger. Well I guess my mistake was using the sorts of things I recall from residential properties. Thanks for the correction!
If someone cuts a couple of trees maybe you get replacement value - especially if the tree cutter was a dick and wanted to make the neighborhood or his property more aesthetically pleasing (according to his tastes). Someone clears woodland, you’re getting lumber value. The lumber value isn’t going to be more than what you could buy the property for outright.
[ETA: this stuff is all state specific - the above or something like it is true in most places, but there may be exceptions]
Waiting for the update where LAOP and his Uncle now own 140 acres of land between them.
Never fuck with tree lawyers.
I have a feeling what will really happen here is that the mining company will go off scott free based on claims of exploration. Natural resource companies do shit like this all the time, and since they "create" high-paying/low-skill jobs, politicians and police kinda just let it happen. I'm very doubtful OP will successfully pursue litigation to recover for the costs of damage to his and his uncle's properties. It's really shitty, but the system is nowhere near perfect.
I was wondering about this, but I do know from the oil and gas exploration end of things, they have to pay for the shit before they go exploring. FINGERS CROSSED.
T R E E L A W
slams fists rhythmically on table
MMMMM I LOVE ME SOME TREE LAW
TREEEEEE LAAAAAAAAAAAAW!!!!!!! lawyers and arborist burst in kool aid man style
I was having a shitty morning and I didn't even realize that I just needed some tree law
did someone say TREE LAW
Contact some environmental NGOs and conservation groups. They will Go hard in the paint.
Everyone excited about this clearly didn't read that OP gets very little from this
Ummm hello where is my MS Paint depiction?!
FUCKING TREEEEEEE LAWWWWWWW
So this is the famous tree law? Neat
Tree law is without a doubt my favorite part of Reddit. Seriously, these are the types of posts that leave me laughing my ass of in the corner of the room.
TREES! TREES! TREES!
Misread as "miming" I was very confused
If only it was in Oregon god damn it
Fuck that they just have to pay it back. Fuck that so much. If I steal shit from someone, I go to fucking jail. The police don't say "Well, just make sure you pay them back"
Is the mining company listed above?
Some lawyer in the world just had an immediate urge to masturbate
Everyone is obsessed over the trees but completely skating over the real horror imho:
found the company completely ignored the actual property boundary and spray painted a new property line 500ft+ onto mine and my uncles property
TREE LAW REEEEE
Say it with me, TREE LAW
LAOP is about to become a millionaire.