Monday, November 25, 2013

Glavin v. Eckman case brief

Glavin v. Eckman case brief summary
881 N.E.2d 820 (Mass. App. Ct. 2008)


CASE SYNOPSIS
The Dukes Superior Court (Massachusetts) entered a judgment on a jury's verdict that found appellants, nearby property owners and a landscaper, wrongfully cut trees of appellee neighbor in violation of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 242, § 7. The jury then awarded restoration damages, which the trial court trebled pursuant to the language of that statute. The owners and landscaper appealed.

CASE FACTS
The owners, the neighbor, and a third individual owned separate lots of land in the same area. The third individual owned the lot in between the neighbors and owner's lots. The owners wanted to enhance their ocean view. The neighbor had refused their earlier request to allow them to cut trees on his property. The owners directed the landscaper they hired to clear as much as possible. Without permission, the landscaper cut down 10 large, mature oak trees on the neighbor's property.

DISCUSSION

  • A jury found pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 242, § 7 that the owners and landscaper wrongfully cut the trees. 
  • The jury awarded restoration damages, which were trebled under the statute. 
  • The appellate court found that: 
  • (1) the owners could be held liable for the landscaper's conduct because they controlled the scope of his work, 
  • (2) awarding restoration damages was proper given the significant change that cutting the trees down brought to the neighbor's property, 
  • (3) the neighbor's experts were properly allowed to testify because their testimony helped the jury determine the replacement cost for the wrongfully-cut trees, and
  • (4) the trebling of the damages did not render the damages unreasonable.

CONCLUSION
The appellate court affirmed the trial court's judgment.

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