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Trees cut down by mistake HELP!

Discussion in 'Homeowner Helper Forum' started by Creed0831, Sep 12, 2017.

  1. Creed0831

    Creed0831 New Member

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    I was approached in July of 2016 about a grant of right of way from PPL (Pennsylvania Power and Light) on a project of trimming or removing trees from the street that may affect the power lines. We had agreed via a signed "grant of right of way" for the "right to cut down one tree" and "the right to trim any and all trees". The project was slated for this spring, but was done last week. We were on vacation last week and returned to have a total of 5 large healthy about 2 feet radius at the base trees cut down in our front yard, instead of the one (which was the smallest of the trees). I have contacted PPL, including the right of way agent we made agreement with. He stated that the trees should not have been cut down as per the work order instructions and had the forester call me back. The forester also stated it should not have happened, but he needs to speak with the contractor to determine why this occurred. He stated the contractor is Asplundh, who is not done with the job (also leaving large logs all over our front yard) having been called down to Florida for the next few weeks. The forester stated that the contractor is contractually responsible for fixing mistakes in their work. This won't be sorted out between PPL and Asplundh for a few weeks due to the hurricane.

    As a new homeowner (2 years), what are my options. The removal of the trees permanently changed the landscaped look of the property and will provide much more sun to the yard and house. These were large oak shade trees and the removal of them could add to our cooling bills. I'm not certain about legal representation as we live pay to pay and don't have money for a retainer. Any and all help is appreciated.
     
  2. 67L36Driver

    67L36Driver Tree Freak

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    I'm no help but, that sucks big time!
     
  3. greengreer

    greengreer ArboristSite Operative

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    Lawyer up! How can they replace large trees that they already admittedly removed by mistake? They can't. The only thing they can do is compensate you for the loss of property value. A consultation from a knowledgeable arborist can estimate a monetary value for the trees lost and a lawyer can take it from there. Asplundh is a huge company and they are fully capable of reimbursement for the mistakes made on their end.
     
  4. Creed0831

    Creed0831 New Member

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    How would I get an arborist to do an assessment? What would this typically cost? I'm not sure how much impact it would have on property value. Our house cost was $200k.
     
  5. greengreer

    greengreer ArboristSite Operative

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    Jackbnimble and ATH like this.
  6. CentaurG2

    CentaurG2 Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Asplundh is a huge company that, I would imagine, has a lot of very competent lawyers. Based on the info you gave, some assets on your property were removed/destroyed without your permission. What are you expecting them to do knowing replacing the original trees is impossible?

    If you are expecting them to remove the logs and clean up, I think you will be all set. If you expect them to grind/remove the stumps and replace the removed shade trees with similar small trees, I think you can get it done on your own with some patience and some well-placed phone calls. If you are thinking cash settlement and a tree replacement, get a competent lawyer that is specialized in land or realty law in your area. Good Luck.
     
  7. ATH

    ATH Addicted to ArboristSite

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    The cost of hiring an arborist to appraise the trees should be part of the compensation you expect. Ask a lawyer if they will get their fees covered too. If so hand the whole matter to a good attorney. If Asplundt is going to work with you you may not need a lawyer? Just compensation based on appraisal of the trees and associated expenses. You probably have a good argument that they also illegally trespassed on your property as soon as they violated the ROW. You have them permission to enter you property for a very specific reason. In Ohio there is a good argument they'd owe you 3x the value of those trees... but those are legal matters better left to the legal profession...
     
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  8. BC WetCoast

    BC WetCoast Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I'm sure this is not an uncommon experience for Asplundh and they have people who are knowledgeable in providing compensation agreements. You will need someone on your side to ensure you are being treated fairly.

    One of the first places to check for an arborist is the ASCA (American Society of Consulting Arborists) website who will have a directory of consulting arborists in your area. I'm sure the more experienced ones have dealt with this before.
     
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  9. Jackbnimble

    Jackbnimble ArboristSite Operative

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    (We had agreed via a signed "grant of right of way" for the "right to cut down one tree" and "the right to trim any and all trees".)

    Are those the exact words on the legally binding contract you signed? IOW, 1. Was what you and they signed truly a binding contract? 2. Is there fine print on the document listing exemptions? 3. Do you have a signed copy of the "agreement" you made with PPL? 4. If what you signed included the words, "the right to trim any and all trees", then that suggests that you can find somewhere else (fine print) in the document that more than one tree may be cut down. I'm not saying that is necessarily the case, but it implies it. 5. The "right of way" that they own gives them latitude about which and how many trees are interfering with their transmission lines. It belongs to them, just as your property belongs to you.

    Get the document and examine all of it carefully. If it is an "agreement" that is limited to what you have told us, PPL is responsible. They sue the subcontractor if they choose to. You would sue them.
     
  10. Brian72

    Brian72 ArboristSite Operative

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    I'd definitely try to get a copy of the work order. Sounds like Asplundh goofed up. If it comes to legal action, at least you'll have written proof. Try working it out on your own first but prepare for a fight if necessary. That's a pretty big "oops."

    Sent from my E6782 using Tapatalk
     
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  11. ATH

    ATH Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I'd push PPL on the matter, but PPL didn't cause the felling (Unless you find a work order that says otherwise Brian suggested). From there the questions are better directed at legal council...but my bet is they are not liable but if it goes to court they could probably also be named on the suit. I'm thinking try hard to work WITH PPL to get the matter addressed through Asplundt. Asplundt wants to keep that contract....they don't care about you. If PPL is on your side I'd suspect the matter will be settled smoothly.
     
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  12. Brian72

    Brian72 ArboristSite Operative

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    Maybe suggest they remove the stumps, plant 5 new oaks and fix your yard and call it even. I know it doesn't replace the trees you lost but you can buy fairly good size trees to replant. Just don't let them run you in circles. They screwed up and they need to make it right. Give them 1 month and if you don't get any results, smash them in the face. Call your local tv station and get them involved. Social media is also very powerful and it's FREE!! Most big companies just don't care but they don't want the general public to know how little they care. Start attacking their reputation and things get done real fast. Hopefully you can settle it peacefully but don't be afraid to get nasty if you have to.

    Sent from my E6782 using Tapatalk
     
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  13. Jackbnimble

    Jackbnimble ArboristSite Operative

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    TNTreeHugger and Creed0831 like this.

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