CHARLESTON -- A Charleston couple has filed suit against an oil and gas company, alleging the company damaged trees on their property.

William W. and Jeanne Carper claim Cabot Oil and Gas Corporation cut and damaged trees, timber and logs on their property in October 2007, according to a complaint originally filed Aug. 18 in Kanawha Circuit Court. At the request of Cabot, the case was moved to federal court and filed there Sept. 12.

In their complaint, the Carpers claim they own property on Summit Drive in Charleston and that Cabot has an easement for a 6-inch pipeline on their property.

But in October, Cabot and its employees entered the Carpers' property without their written permission and removed more vegetation than was necessary, according to the complaint.

"The scope of the right-of-way granted to the Defendant is limited to a six-inch pipeline through Plaintiff's property," the suit states. "The Defendant's activities exceed the scope of the right-of-way."

The Carpers claim Cabot had a duty to create no harm to surrounding areas when maintaining or altering the pipeline.

"The Defendant through its willful, wanton and reckless actions, caused a nuisance by interfering with Plaintiffs' private enjoyment of their real property," the suit states.

The Carpers are seeking a judgment equal to three times the value of the timber harvested, cut or damaged.

In addition they are seeking unspecified punitive damages, pre- and post-judgment interest at the legal rate and court costs.

Charles R. Bailey and Jared M. Tully of Bailey & Wyant will be representing the company.

Timothy M. Miller of Robinson & McElwee in Charleston is representing Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation.

U.S. District Court case number: 2:08-1083

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