Molly English-Bowers Mar. 21, 2016, 1:30pm


BELLEVILLE – Eckert Orchards claims it lost income when 169 peach trees were wrongfully destroyed for growing beneath power lines.

Eckert Orchards Inc. filed the suit Feb. 29 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Nelson Tree Service Inc. and Ameren IP, also known as Illinois Power Company.

According to the complaint, in November 2015, the plaintiff was approached by defendant Ameren about trimming trees which were located underneath the power lines. Plaintiff CEO Chris Eckert agreed but allegedly told both defendants not to cut the trees.

On Dec. 12, 2015, defendant Nelson Tree Service went onto the plaintiff's property without permission and destroyed 169 peach trees, according to the complaint. The plaintiff claims it has suffered a significant loss of income from the tree damage and removal.

Nelson Tree Service Inc. was allegedly negligent when it came onto the plaintiff's property without permission, removed and cut trees it did not have the legal right to touch, and failed to have a proper procedure in place for trimming trees that wouldn't destroy them and the surrounding property.

Ameren was allegedly negligent when it gave permission to Nelson Tree Services to come onto the plaintiff's property, gave permission to the defendant to remove and cut trees Nelson did not have the legal right to touch, and failed to have a procedure in place for trimming tress that wouldn't destroy them and the surrounding property.

The plaintiff demands judgment against both defendants in a sum in excess of $50,000 plus court costs. It is represented by Bruce R. Cook of Cook, Ysursa, Bartholomew, Brauer & Shevlin Ltd. in Belleville.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 16-L-114

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