Intrinsic Value of Trees Can Be Compensated in Intentional Trespass Action.

The parties in this case were neighboring landowners that shared a common boundary.  The plaintiff (appellant in this case) instructed his workers to cut down trees on the plaintiff's side of the property line. The plaintiff also instructed his workers to tear out the existing fence and build a new one to hold cattle on his property.  The workers, however, also tore out the defendant's (appellee in this case) fence and about 30 large trees on the defendant's property with the damage to the defendant's property occurring in and area 16 feet wide and 800 feet long.  The plaintiff admitted to the trespass, but argued that the defendant's property still had the same appraised value and, thus, the defendant was not entitled to any damages.  The court noted that the destruction of the trees caused only nominal diminution in the property's value, thus the defendant was entitled to the "intrinsic value" of the trees.  The defendant lost privacy and the previous view of their property.  The court determined that the cost to remove stumps would be $6,500 and that the defendant also lost a windbreak and shade for his horses.  An arborist's report indicated that the destroyed trees had an intrinsic value of $150,000.  The evidence was sufficient to support the jury's award of damages.  Ortega v. Cheshier, No. 11-13-00002-CV, 2015 Tex. App. LEXIS 837 (Tex Ct. App. Jan. 29, 2015). 

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