2012 Connecticut General Statutes
Title 52 - Civil Actions
Chapter 925 - Statutory Rights of Action and Defenses
Section 52-560 - Damages for cutting trees, timber or shrubbery. Exclusion.

CT Gen Stat § 52-560 (2012) What's This?

Any person who cuts, destroys or carries away any trees, timber or shrubbery, standing or lying on the land of another or on public land, except on land subject to the provisions of section 52-560a, without license of the owner, and any person who aids therein, shall pay to the party injured five times the reasonable value of any tree intended for sale or use as a Christmas tree and three times the reasonable value of any other tree, timber or shrubbery; but, when the court is satisfied that the defendant was guilty through mistake and believed that the tree, timber or shrubbery was growing on his land, or on the land of the person for whom he cut the tree, timber or shrubbery, it shall render judgment for no more than its reasonable value.

(1949 Rev., S. 8301; 1961, P.A. 548; 1963, P.A. 123; P.A. 06-89, S. 2.)

History: 1961 act substituted terms “shrubbery” for “underwood” and “public land” for “town commons,” eliminated separate provision for trees less than one foot in diameter, specified all provisions apply to trees, timber or shrubbery damaged, stipulated value, for determining damages, be reasonable value, deleting term “true” value in last clause and added provision for one cutting timber, etc., for another; 1963 act added provision re Christmas tree; P.A. 06-89 added exclusion re land subject to provisions of Sec. 52-560a.

See Secs. 53a-115 to 53a-117a, inclusive, re criminal mischief.

In order to recover treble damages under statute, the complaint must clearly state that the claim for relief is based upon the statutory remedy. 1 CA 303. Cited. 43 CA 1; 45 CA 56. Replacement cost of destroyed trees is not a proper measure of damages under section. 75 CA 781. Does not preempt the field of remedies, but rather provides for an enhancement of common-law damages by providing for treble damages in certain circumstances. 131 CA 306. Award of damages for cost of cleaning up and screening property with new trees was improper where plaintiff only introduced evidence of replacement cost of trees, rather than proper measure of damages such as market value of severed trees or diminution in real property value. 133 CA 572. Section does not provide for attorney’s fees or punitive damages. 134 CA 538.

For mitigation of treble damages provision, requirement is that defendant be “guilty through mistake” and believe that “timber was growing on his own land”; requirements are not in the alternative. 22 CS 195. Legislative history of section. Id. The true measure of damages is the reasonable market value of a severed tree or the diminution of the value of the land because of its loss; evidence of replacement cost of a tree and a charge to the jury this could be “reasonable value” was error. 31 CS 536.

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