Verdicts and Settlements
REAL PROPERTY, Trespass – Conversion – Wrongful Injury and Cutting of Trees
SETTLEMENT RESULT: Plaintiffs settled with Defendant homeowners for $70,675 and their contractors for $30,000, for a total of $100,675.
CASE: Dasenbrock and Steel v. Barrett and Graves, dba Empire Tree Experts, No. 238700
SETTLEMENT DATE: April 2007
ATTORNEYS: Plaintiff – Barri Kaplan Bonapart (Bonapart & Associates, Sausalito)
Defendants - Paul J. McDonald (Simoncini & Associates, San Jose)
James M. Treppa (Bledsoe, Cathcart, Diestel & Pedersen, LLP, San Francisco)
EXPERTS: Plaintiff: Becky Duckles, arborist, Sebastopol
FACTS & CONTENTIONS: Plaintiffs and Defendants own adjacent properties in Cazadero, CA. Defendants, the Barretts, hired Empire Tree Service to cut down trees in order to improve the view from their home. One day, Mr. Dasenbrock unexpectedly discovered Empire Tree Service cutting trees on his property and immediately instructed them to stop. By that point, Defendant had already cut down 16 of the Plaintiffs’ trees and severely damaged 3 additional Redwoods. While at first apologetic, the Barretts became unamicable and challenged plaintiffs to prove that a trespass had in fact occurred, denying liability. Plaintiffs filed an action for trespass, property damage, conversion, negligence, and wrongful injury and cutting of trees pursuant to C.C. §3346(a) and C.C.P. §733.
CLAIMED DAMAGES: Using the trunk formula method set forth in the Guide for Plant Appraisal, 9th edition, the Plaintiffs’ arborist calculated the appraised loss of the trees to be $70,676.
COMMENTS: The Mediator was retired Judge Lawrence K. Sawyer.