Broughton Lumber Co. v. BNSF Ry.Annotate this Case
This case required the Supreme Court to construe the former RCW 64.12.030, the "timber trespass statute." Plaintiff Broughton Lumber Company asserted a timber trespass claim against defendants BNSF Railway Company and Harsco Corporation in the United States District Court, District of Oregon, Portland Division, after a fire spread from BNSF's property and destroyed Broughton's trees. The district court certified the question to the Washington Supreme Court. To answer, the Court outlined the 142 year history of the statute, and concluded after its review of the history, that: (1) a plaintiff cannot recover damages under the timber trespass statute when a defendant commits an indirect act or omission that causes mere collateral injury; but (2) a plaintiff may recover damages when a defendant commits a direct trespass causing immediate injury to a plaintiff's trees, even if the defendant is not physically present on the plaintiff's property.