Trespassing neighbor sued for three times stumpage value

Steve Gonzalez Nov. 22, 2005, 7:42am

Perhaps they were just trying to keep up with the Joneses.

In a suit filed Nov. 22 in Madison County Circuit Court, Kathy and Marty Jones claim that Michael Storey and Misty Soliben intentionally trespassed on their Alton property to cut down trees for profit.

“At various times between August and Sept. 4, and after repeated demands by the Jones' that he remove himself, the defendant without legal right and without consent, intentionally entered the Jones’ land and cut down, pushed over, or otherwise removed numerous trees for his own convenience and for the purpose of logging and resale,” the complaint states.

The Joneses reside at 312 Jefferson in Alton.

They claim the Wrongful Tree Cutting Act provides that anyone who cuts timber without legal right must pay the owner of the timber three times the stumpage value.

“Based upon the intentional actions of the defendants in destroying plaintiffs' property, the Jones' are entitled to, in addition to actual damages, punitive damages against defendants,” the complaint states.

The suit also claims that the defendants have been unjustly enriched in excess of $50,000, since they removed the trees without permission.

Represented by Amy Sholar of Alton, the Joneses are seeking damages in excess of $150,000, plus punitive damages in excess of $50,000.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge George Moran.

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