A Foxworth landowner is alleging in a lawsuit that his brother, a forester and a logger cut trees off his property without his permission, although the forester and logger deny the claims.
Charles A. Poole is suing Paul Lawrence, Lawrence Forestry Inc., Destry E. Poole, Michelle Poole, New South Logging LLC and Okatoma Logging Company LLC in Marion County Circuit Court.
A trial is scheduled for Jan. 16 at the courthouse.
The lawsuit involves adjoining properties owned by Charles Poole and his brother Destry Poole off Old New Hope Road in Foxworth.
According to the lawsuit, Destry and Michelle Poole contracted in April 2017 with Lawrence, acting on behalf of Lawrence Forestry, to appraise and cut timber they owned.
“As there had been instances of the brother, Destry, encroaching on his brother’s adjoining real property in the past, the Plaintiff, Charles, just before leaving for his employment overseas, confronted Destry about where the boundary line was located and must be respected. On April 24, 2017, Charles left for work,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit says Destry and Michelle Poole then contracted with New South Logging on April 26, 2017. It says Charles Poole’s daughter and son-in-law warned the loggers after cutting began that they were removing timber from Charles Poole’s property.
“While Charles’ family was on site, Paul Lawrence and Destry were contacted about the dispute. However, the warning was only met with threats from Destry and Okatoma and New South Logging continued to operate equipment and chainsaws after Charles' family left the site for a total of approximately five acres of Charles' property being clear-cut,” the lawsuit said. “Therefore, the Co-Defendants not only ignored the warning, but continued to cut and take timber from Charles's real property. Not at any time of the process above did any of the Co-Defendants make an effort to determine and verify land lines between Charles and the Sellers.”
It says Charles Poole, who was working in Saudi Arabia in the oil industry, flew home a week early to address the problem personally.
He said 117 yellow pine trees were cut from his property that he planned to let grow for several more years before using to build a cabin in Tennessee in his retirement.
The lawsuit is asking for compensatory damages, punitive damages, attorney’s fees and court costs in a jury trial.
Charles Poole is represented by Joseph Turney of Columbia.
Lawrence’s court response denies most of the lawsuit’s allegations and said damages are limited by statute to two times the market value plus $250 to replant. It said there are no grounds for contractual damages, punitive damages, attorney’s fees or prejudgment interest.
Lawrence asks that the lawsuit be dismissed with prejudice and he be awarded costs and attorney’s fees. He is represented by Richard Filce of Hattiesburg.
Okatoma Logging also denies most of the lawsuit claims in its court response. It is represented by Larry Buffington of Prentiss.
The court has entered a default judgment against Destry and Michelle Poole because they did not respond to the lawsuit.
Pictured Above: Charles Poole stands near the property line between his and his brother’s land off Old New Hope Road in Foxworth. He alleges in a lawsuit that timber was improperly cut off his land last year. | Photo by Charlie Smith