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Man uses neighbor’s stones for entranceway to property – $44,000 Verdict

Defendant, a neighbor in a subdivision of 50 lots, took rocks from old “dry-stack” stone walls on the plaintiff’s lot (Lot 2) for material to make a stone wall entranceway along his property and the common lane.

Defendant claimed that the developer had said he could take rocks from unsold lots. At the time the defendant removed the rocks from Lot 2, it was under contract and some of the rocks were removed after plaintiff’s closing on the lot.

The developer did not know defendant was removing the rocks from Lot 2, and defendant did not ask the developer if Lot 2 was sold.

Defendant maintained that plaintiff’s stones were only used on the construction of 70 feet of his stone wall. Plaintiff claimed that different sections of her stone wall, totaling 360 feet, were damaged by defendant’s taking.

The judge struck the plaintiff’s claim for punitive damages but granted a jury instruction stating that defendant admitted liability on both counts, based upon defense counsel’s opening statement and defendant’s testimony on direct examination.


Type of action: Trespass and conversion
Injuries alleged: Damage to stone walls, taking of rocks
Name of case: Wood v. Compton
Court: Rappahannock Circuit Court
Case no.: CL09-000075
Tried before: Jury
Date: July 25, 2011
Offer: $15,000
Verdict or settlement: Verdict
Amount: $44,000
Attorney for plaintiff: J. Michael Sharman, Culpeper
Attorneys for defendant: Melissa N. Cupp and Douglas Baumgardner, Washington, Va.
Plaintiff’s experts: Timuchin Ulvi, real estate appraiser, Warrenton; Steve O. Critzer, stone wall construction, Washington, Va.;  Jan Makela, real estate agent, Washington, Va.; Rick Kohler, real estate broker, Washington, Va.

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