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Laube v. Thomas

Iowa Supreme Court
376 N.W.2d 108 (1985)


Facts

Richard Laube and Judy Laube (plaintiffs) contracted to buy a farm from Vernon Thomas and Betty Thomas (defendants). Prior to the Laubes taking possession, the Thomases cut down and removed about 100 walnut trees from the farm. No timber rights had been reserved by the Laubes. The Laubes sued for damages, conceding that the trees were timber or forest with no ornamental or windbreak value. The Laubes presented expert evidence establishing that the trees, at their current age, were not at their reasonable market potential. The Laubes estimated damages by taking the market value of the trees if the trees were the same size and quality but 20 years older, and then discounting the figure to present value. The trial court, however, fixed the award on the basis of the trees’ current market value as lumber. The Laubes appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Harris, J.)

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