2015 ORS § 105.810¹
Treble damages for injury to or removal of produce, trees or shrubs
- • costs and attorney fees
- • limitation on liability of contract logger
(1) Except as provided in ORS 477.089 (Recovery for property damage) and 477.092 (Liability for destruction of property by wildfire) and subsections (4) to (7) of this section, whenever any person, without lawful authority, willfully injures or severs from the land of another any produce thereof or cuts down, girdles or otherwise injures or carries off any tree, timber or shrub on the land of another person, or of the state, county, United States or any public corporation, or on the street or highway in front of any persons house, or in any village, town or city lot, or cultivated grounds, or on the common or public grounds of any village, town or city, or on the street or highway in front thereof, in an action by such person, village, town, city, the United States, state, county, or public corporation, against the person committing such trespasses if judgment is given for the plaintiff, it shall be given for treble the amount of damages claimed, or assessed for the trespass. In any such action, upon plaintiffs proof of ownership of the premises and the commission by the defendant of any of the acts mentioned in this section, it is prima facie evidence that the acts were committed by the defendant willfully, intentionally and without plaintiffs consent.
(2) A court may, in its discretion, award to a prevailing party under subsection (1) of this section reimbursement of reasonable costs of litigation including but not limited to investigation costs and attorney fees.
(3) A court may, in its discretion, award to a prevailing plaintiff under subsection (1) of this section reasonable costs of reforestation activities related to the injury sustained by the plaintiff.
(4) A contract logger is liable only for actual damages in an action under this section if:
(a) The contract logger conducts an operation under a signed, written contract with a person the contract logger reasonably believes to be the legal owner of the produce, trees, timber or shrubs in the operation area;
(b) The contract identifies the operation area by a metes and bounds description or other sufficient legal description;
(c) Before the contract logger begins harvesting in the operation area, the person who engages the contract logger under the contract:
(A) Locates, marks and protects from damage all survey monuments in the operation area;
(B) Flags, stakes or otherwise clearly marks the boundaries of the operation area; and
(C) Provides the contract logger with a copy of the deed, contract or other instrument that the person who engages the contract logger under the contract relies upon as proof of ownership of the produce, trees, timber or shrubs in the operation area;
(d) The contract logger verifies the deed, contract or instrument described in paragraph (c)(C) of this subsection against the metes and bounds description or other sufficient legal description in the contract;
(e) The contract logger retains a copy of the deed, contract or instrument described in paragraph (c)(C) of this subsection for at least three years; and
(f) The contract logger does not receive written notice that any person has a claim of title to the land or timber in the operation area that is adverse to the person who engages the contract logger under the contract.
(5) Subsection (4) of this section does not affect an action for double or treble damages against a contract logger for damages outside the operation area as described in subsection (4) of this section.
(6) If an action is brought under this section against a contract logger, and the contract logger was engaged to harvest the timber by a person who purported to own the timber or to have authority to harvest the timber, the person who engaged the contract logger must be joined in the action as a defendant unless jurisdiction over the person cannot be had. If a judgment is entered against the contract logger and against the person who engaged the contract logger, the contract logger shall not be required to pay any part of the judgment unless the plaintiff establishes that the judgment cannot be enforced against the person who engaged the contract logger. The plaintiff may enforce the judgment against the contract logger only if:
(a) The plaintiff makes a good faith effort for at least six months after the judgment becomes final and subject to execution to enforce the judgment against the person who engaged the contract logger; and
(b) The court determines, upon motion of the plaintiff, that all or part of the judgment cannot be collected from the person who engaged the contract logger.
(7) Subsections (2) and (3) of this section apply in an action against a contract logger under subsection (4) of this section.
(8) For purposes of this section:
(a) Contract logger means a person engaged in a commercial timber harvesting operation.
(b) Operation has the meaning given in ORS 527.620 (Definitions for ORS 527.610 to 527.770) (12). [Amended by 1995 c.721 §1; 1999 c.544 §1; 2013 c.307 §4]