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Bullman v. D & R Lumber Co.

West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals
464 S.E.2d 771 (1995)


Facts

D & R Lumber Company (defendant) cut down trees on Carol Sue Bullman’s (plaintiff) property without her permission. West Virginia law provided that anyone who cut down the timber of another without permission was subject to damages equal to three times the value of the timber. The statute also stated that the treble damages were in addition to other penalties provided by law. Bullman sued D & R under this statute. Pursuant to the statute, the trial court awarded Bullman $3,100 in compensatory damages, equal to three times the stumpage value of the timber. The court also awarded $1,400 in compensatory damages for repair of Bullman’s land and $500 for loss of property. Finally, the trial court awarded $25,000 in common-law punitive damages. D & R appealed, arguing that by bringing suit under the treble-damages statute, Bullman in effect chose her remedy and could not also recover punitive damages.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Cleckley, J.)

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