West Virginia Record

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Tree removal the subject of Mason lawsuit

By Lawrence Smith | Mar 7, 2013

POINT PLEASANT – A Mason County man says the power company cut too wide a swath in clearing trees along his property.

American Electric Power and Appalachian Power Company are named as co-defendants in a destruction of property lawsuit filed by Russell Watterson. In his complaint filed Jan. 11 in Mason Circuit Court, Watterson, 53 and of Apple Grove, alleges the Columbus, Ohio-based utility and its West Virginia subsidiary did more than create an eyesore when they cut down some pine trees well beyond the approved radius.

According to the suit, Watterson entered into an agreement with AEP on Jan. 11, 2011, for it to clear 50 trees along its transmission lines adjacent to Watterson’s property. Steve Allison, an AEP representative, walked the property with Watterson and placed flag markers at the 150-foot limit to the right-of-way easement.

After staking the markers, Watterson says Allison assured him “the marked area would be the only area cut.”

However, a week later, Asplundh Tree Expert Company arrived and cut 160 feet beyond the 150-foot limit, the suit says. This, Watterson says, resulted in the improper removal of 16 white pine trees.

The pine trees, Watterson says, had more than just an aesthetic value. According to the suit, they “acted as a visual and windbreak barrier that were essential to the homeowner’s functional home protection [and] internal structural support for the pond dam located directly beside the area where the trees were taken.”

Asplundh is also named a co-defendant in the suit.

Watterson seeks unspecified damages. He is represented by Charleston attorney Steven S. Wolfe.

The case is assigned to Judge Thomas C. Evans III

Mason Circuit Court, case number 13-C-12

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