Massachusetts Appeals Court
881 N.E.2d 820 (Mass. App. Ct. 2008)
A Massachusetts statute made it illegal to willfully cut down trees on a neighbor’s property without permission. The statute did not state how damages should be measured. Eckman (defendant) hired an independent contractor to cut down a group of ten large, mature oak trees on Galvin’s (plaintiff) property after Galvin refused permission to do so. Galvin was planning to use the trees as a source of shade and as a backdrop for a pond at the edge of his property. The contractor went ahead and cut down the trees. Glavin brought suit and the trial court found in his favor, awarding him $30,000 in restoration damages. Eckman appealed, claiming, among other things, that the jury erred in permitting restoration damages rather than damages measured by the value of the trees cut, or by the diminution in market value of Galvin’s property.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Grasso, J.)
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