Conversion of timber results in treble damages.

Mrs. & Mrs. Hill v. the Jarvis Family (Published Memo): Treble damages awarded for wrongful sale of timber by cotenants involved in a partition suit.  Good discussion of the two-stage partition suit process.  Also worth remembering that the Natural Resources Code provision allowing for treble damages for wrongful timber harvesting applies even among cotenants. Tex. Nat’l Res. Code Ann. § 151.051(a). 

Here the Hills owned 37% of a Smith County tract, with the Jarvis family owning 63%.  The trial court had already entered an order confirming those percentages, and settling all claims for contribution (such as for one side paying for more of their share of property taxes up to the date of the partition judgment).  Still pending was the second stage: the appointment of commissioners and a surveyor to actually divide the property. It was at this point that Mr. Hill had all of the timber cut and sold.  The Jarvis family gets a judgment against Mr. Hill, but their judgment against the wife was vacated because there was no evidence she participated in her husband’s actions.

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