If you are a Louisiana landowner and someone cut your trees without your consent, you have a right to compensation. An experienced timber theft attorney can help. Our team at Jones Law Partners is experienced in timber theft cases, and we are happy to discuss your case with you as soon as possible.
Timber Theft Lawyer
Logging is a part of life in many forested areas across the U.S. However, all logging must be done with the consent of the landowner.
What does Louisiana law say about timber trespass?
The U.S. Forest Services estimates that roughly 10% of all trees cut annually are, in fact, stolen from landowners.
But what can be done about this theft under Louisiana law?
Louisiana law says:
“It shall be unlawful for any person to cut, fell, destroy, remove, or to divert for sale or use, any trees … growing or lying on the land of another, without the consent of, or in accordance with the direction of, the owner or legal possessor, or in accordance with specific terms of a legal contract or agreement…
Whoever willfully and intentionally violates the provisions [above] shall be liable to the owner or legal possessor of the trees for civil damages in the amount of three times the fair market value of the trees cut, felled, destroyed, removed, or diverted, plus reasonable attorney’s fees.”
Who are the most common guilty parties?
Timber theft often happens not in bulk, but rather with trees taken “here or there.”
There are a few main guilty parties responsible for the majority of timber theft in the U.S.
Remember, anyone who intentionally steals timber is required to pay up to three times for the trees they stole.
However, even in the second two situations, if the logger truly did make a mistake (“good faith,” in legal terms), they can still be liable for paying up to three times the amount, as well.
The law states:
“Whoever violates the provisions [listed above] in good faith shall be liable to the owner or legal possessor of the trees for three times the fair market value of the trees cut, felled, destroyed, removed, or diverted, if circumstances prove that the violator should have been aware that his actions were without the consent or direction of the owner or legal possessor of the trees.”
What to do about timber theft in Louisiana?
Obviously, any landowner hopes to never have to deal with this type of situation. Landowners should be familiar with their property, its boundaries, and who is entering and exiting the property as much as possible.
Even if landowners live off-property, they can enlist neighbors or others to help keep an eye on the land, or install monitors of some kind. Make sure your boundaries are marked, and any time a sale takes place, check on the logging operation on a regular basis throughout the process.
Unfortunately, landowners are bound to make mistakes, and loggers can find all kinds of ways to steal, if they so choose.
If you find yourself missing a few trees — or several trees — you should contact a timber theft attorney right away.
How Jones Law Partners can help
The Jones Law Partners have the experience you need to pursue your timber theft case against the logger who stole your trees. As one of the only Louisiana timber theft attorneys in the Alexandria area, we are ready and able to fight for your land and for your compensation.
Additionally, our team at The Jones Law Partners can help you ensure your contracts moving forward don’t allow for any vague loopholes that loggers may try to utilize to steal from you further.
Contact The Jones Law Firm today
If you have been the victim of timber theft in Alexandria, LA, you may be entitled to compensation.
Our team at The Jones Law Partners is well-versed in Louisiana timber theft law, and we are ready to discuss your case.