PCKB SUCCESSFULLY MINIMIZES DAMAGES IN AN UNUSUAL TREE CASE (WESTERMAN v. ARMBRUST)
In early April, Rick Pinto and Aerin Hickey, representing Defendants David and Lynn Armbrust, tried the case of Westerman v. Armbrust in the Superior Court of Watauga County, NC. The trial judge was Superior Court Judge Greg Horne, with the trial taking place in Boone, NC. It was an unusual case, and it related to 22 trees that were cut down near Plaintiffs’ and Defendants’ adjoining property line. There were disputes as to where the property line was located, whether permission was given to cut the trees, and how much the trees were worth. Plaintiffs claimed damages of over $72,000, plus they asserted claims for punitive damages, statutory damages, and unfair and deceptive trade practices which, if successful, could have resulted in total damages of over $216,000. The parties testified extensively, and both sides called expert arborists as witnesses.
After a four-day trial, the jury awarded Plaintiffs only common law damages, in the amount of just $4,000. This was especially favorable to PCKB’s clients, because the jury awarded even less than the $6,000 Rick had requested the jury to return as damages. The Judgment was also lower than an earlier $15,001 Offer of Judgment.