An Alton couple filed a civil suit against St. Joseph's Cemetery claiming trees and shrubbery were removed from their property without permission in violation of the Wrongful Tree Cutting Act.

According to a suit filed April 7 in Madison County Circuit Court, Rachel and Michael McNamara claim workers for St. Joseph's Cemetery intentionally and knowingly cut, or caused to be cut, trees and shrubs from their parcel of real estate.

The McNamaras reside at 947 Riley in Alton.

They claim the trees and shrubs were valuable to them as a screen to block the view of the cemetery from their back yard.

"The defendant had no permission or full legal right to cut and remove any trees or shrubbery on plaintiffs' property," the complaint states.

Represented by Lanny Darr of Alton, the McNamaras claim they are entitled to three times the stumpage value of the trees that were wrongfully cut and are also entitled to request that the director of the Department of Natural Resources secure three independent appraisals of the trees which were wrongfully cut as well as half of any and all expenses incurred including surveys, consulting services and administration costs.

The McNamaras are seeking damages in excess of $10,000, but less than $50,000.

The case is scheduled for mandatory arbitration.

08 AR 182

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