Glavin v. Eckman

881 N.E.2d 820 (Mass. App. Ct. 2008)


When building their vacation home in 1996, D asked P for permission to cut the stand of trees on P's property to enhance their view of the ocean. D refused their request, indicating that he had personal reasons for not cutting the trees. In 2001, D hired Fragosa to trim or cut down the trees that blocked their view of the ocean. It was readily apparent that most of the trees D wanted removed were not on their property. Fragosa inquired of Gentry, who granted him permission to cut and trim trees on her lot. Although Fragosa obtained Gentry's permission, he did not ascertain the boundaries of her property relative to the D or P properties, nor did he seek permission from P or any other property owners in the area. Fragosa strayed fifty to one hundred feet across the unmarked boundary between the Gentry and D lots and cut the stand of mature oaks on D's lot. The jury assessed $30,000 in damages as 'the reasonable cost of restoring the property as nearly as reasonably possible to its original condition.' The judge trebled those damages as required by the statute. This appeal resulted.