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Brown County logging damages award stands

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A landowner’s award of $55,572.50 in damages caused by a logging contractor at a property in Brown County was properly calculated, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.

Greenwood resident Ruth Sheek was alerted by neighbors near her second home – a lakefront cabin on 53 wooded acres in Brown County – that she needed to come see damage done by a logging contractor she had hired to harvest mature trees. Sheek arrived to find a deeply rutted staging area, damaged standing trees, discarded treetops and trunks, and debris that blocked access to the water.

Upset, she ordered the workers to leave, but they didn’t until a few months after her lawyer sent them a cease-and-desist letter. She sued for breach of contract and the logging firm countersued, claiming it was improperly barred from harvesting the timber Sheek allowed it to take.

Sheek claimed she thought her property was worth $500,000 before the damages and $100,000 afterward, but a panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled that Brown Circuit Judge Judith Stewart properly found the damages in Ruth Sheek v. Mark A Morin Logging, Inc.,  07A01-1211-PL-509.

Stewart arrived at the damages award using the estimate of a real estate appraiser who said cost of remediation was about $75,000. Stewart added $5,000 to restore a stone path to the lake, then subtracted $20,427.50 in remediation costs the logging firm performed and $4,000 for the value of trees Morin Logging Co. was unable to harvest.

“Because the evidence shows that damages still remained to Ruth’s property after (a subcontractor’s) remediation work, it was reasonable for the trial court to subtract the amount … spent on remediation from the $75,000 estimate to determine the amount that Morin Logging still owed,” Judge Nancy Vaidik wrote for the court.

“The trial court’s damage award is supported by the evidence,” she concluded.      
 

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  1. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  2. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  3. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  4. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  5. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

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