BOISE, Idaho — An Idaho man will have to pay nearly $100,000 in legal fees after cutting down 19 of his neighbor’s trees in a logging job.
Chief Justice of the Idaho Supreme Court Jim Jones says the ruling is legally correct but unfair to Kenneth Eyer, according to The Spokesman-Review (http://bit.ly/2cCEaSG).
The Supreme Court on Monday ordered Eyer to pay more than $95,000 in attorney fees for an unsuccessful counter-lawsuit over a 2009 logging job. Eyer logged part of his Sagle property to raise money for his wife’s chemotherapy bills but inadvertently logged some of his neighbor’s trees, violating Idaho’s “timber trespass” laws.
Eyer’s trouble started when he went to sell some of the timber on his property. Boundaries were incorrectly flagged and a neighbor’s trees valued at $1,600 were sold. The neighbor sued and under Idaho state law was eligible for triple damages. The Eyers settled for $50,000, to be paid out of the couple’s estate after they die.
The Eyers countersued Idaho Forest Group, the logging company that mismarked the boundary and cut down the offending trees, and continued that countersuit after the settlement with the neighbors. A jury ruled that Idaho Forest Group was not responsible and on Monday, the Supreme Court agreed.
Eyer’s attorney, Arthur Bistline, could not be reached Monday for comment.
“I made $6,500 on the logging,” said Eyer, 87, whose wife, Sally, died in January. “I’m destroyed – I’m financially destroyed over somebody else’s little mistake.”
Jones wrote in an opinion that the court procedures be changed to be faster and to reduce the cost of litigation so someone like Eyer won’t face such high costs in the future.
“It appears to me that the legal system catastrophically failed Kenneth and Sally Eyer,” Jones wrote in his opinion.
Eyer said he is glad to hear someone in the justice system agrees he has been dealt a rough hand, but that it doesn’t help.
Information from: The Spokesman-Review, http://www.spokesman.com