Woman sues company after it cuts down 400 trees without permissi - WNEM TV 5

Woman sues company after it cuts down 400 trees without permission

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SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

Hundreds of trees were reduced to stumps by mistake.

Now the property owner is wondering when or even if something will be done to fix it.

Quotes on replacing the trees are $1 million or more, but the property owner is being offered much less.

"I couldn't believe it. I thought I was seeing things," said Theresa Dopp, homeowner.

She said she was furious after a tree removal company bulldozed about 400 trees on the edge of her property line. Court documents revealed the company claimed it was an accidnet.

Dopp doesn't think it was an accident.

"Everything just wiped right out. A big spot right in the center of my woods. I couldn't tell if it was an acre or what when I first looked at it," Dopp said.

It turns out that tree company, which Dopp is now suing, took down two acres of trees on property she owns without her permission. Dopp has been fighting the company in court for more than four years.

A Midland County judge recently ruled the maximum amount Dopp can be awarded is only a few hundred dollars, an amount far short of what it would cost to replace the two acres of trees.

"The judge has turned the tables against me," Dopp said.

Dopp's new attorney, Phil Ellison, said prior rulings on such matters should award Dopp more than enough money to replace the trees that were taken down without her permission.

Ellison said the worst part is the judge hearing the case ruled a jury is not allowed to establish a value for replacing the trees. Ellison said it could top a million dollars.

"The judge has essentially denied the jury the opportunity to assess those costs against the homeowner and we're going to be taking that issue all the way up to the Supreme Court if we have to," Ellison said.

As for Dopp, she said so far the fight has been a path to nowhere, but she is willing to continue to fight to get her trees replaced.

"It's not impossible. These trees can and need to be replaced," she said.

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