Dawsey v. Newton

Decision Date30 June 1943
Docket Number4 Div. 278.
Citation15 So.2d 271,244 Ala. 661
PartiesDAWSEY et al. v. NEWTON.
CourtAlabama Supreme Court

Rehearing Denied Oct. 21, 1943.

Appeal from Circuit Court, Houston County; D.C Halstead, Judge.

W.L Lee and Alto V. Lee, III, both of Dothan, for appellants.

J.N Mullins, of Dothan, for appellee.


Suit for the statutory penalty for cutting two oak trees, and for trespass upon plaintiff's lands. The trial court submitted six counts of the complaint to the jury. From a judgment for plaintiff, defendants appeal.

Counts 1-A, 1-B and 1-C claim the statutory penalty. Section 272, Title 47, Code of 1940. Counts 3-A, 3-B and 4-A claim damages for a trespass committed by defendants on the lands of plaintiff.

A count which alleges the commission of a trespass by one acting by and through another, naming him, is one in trespass against both. The legal effect is not the same as an allegation that the trespass was committed by an agent of the one, etc. In the latter instance, the count is one in case. Edwards v. Russell, 222 Ala. 484, 133 So. 3; City Delivery Co. v. Henry, 139 Ala. 161, 34 So. 389; Bessemer Coal, Iron & Land Co. v. Doak, 152 Ala. 166, 172, 44 So. 627; 12 L.R.A.,N.S., 389; Ex parte Louisville & Nashville R. Co., 203 Ala. 328, 83 So. 52; Southern Rwy. Co. v. Beaty, 212 Ala. 608, 103 So. 658.

Counts 3-A, 3-B and 4-A, in effect, allege that the trespass was committed on lands "belonging to the plaintiff," and count 4-A alleges that "plaintiff was the owner and in possession of the above described lands," and are sufficient in regard to the necessity of showing title or possession of plaintiff. Birmingham R., L. & P. Co. v. Abbott, 6 Ala.App. 643, 60 So. 970.

Neither count of the complaint is subject to any ground of demurrer assigned, and the same was properly overruled.

A cause of action for the statutory penalty prescribed by section 272, Title 47, Code of 1940, for entering on land and destroying trees may under section 220, Title 7, Code of 1940, be joined with an action of trespass as for injury to the land. Rudolph v. Holmes, 201 Ala. 461, 78 So. 839; Floyd v. Wilson, 171 Ala. 139, 54 So. 528.

The trial court refused to defendant the general charge as to each count in the complaint.

Admittedly two oak trees were cut and removed by Dempsey Dawsey under the direction of Mrs. Marsh, and the principal question litigated was whether the trees were cut and removed from the lands of plaintiff or from the lands of Mrs. Marsh. On this question the evidence was in sharp and direct conflict, and was sufficient to support each count in the complaint in that regard.

To recover the statutory penalty provided by section 272, Title 47, Code of 1940, plaintiff must prove that defendants violated the statute knowingly and willfully. Clifton Iron Co. v. Curry, 108 Ala. 581, 18 So. 554; Williams v. Hendricks, 115 Ala. 277, 22 So. 439, 440, 41 L.R.A. 650, 67 Am.St.Rep. 32.

The plaintiff testified in part:

"I own the southwest quarter of southwest quarter, section 26, Township 4, Range 26, Houston County, Alabama. This land was first deeded by the Government to Mr. Bolton and my father got it from him. I purchased it from my brothers and sisters and live within seventy-five yards of the line of it now. I have lived there all of my life. On March 24, 1941, Mr. Dawsey was on this land cutting some timber. I had a conversation with him on that time and asked him why he was cutting the trees. He stated that Mrs. Marsh sent him there to cut them and I asked him if he didn't understand that it was my land and my fence and my trees. I also told him that the line was eight or ten feet from where they were, that they were on my land not to cut them. * * *

"I heard Mrs. Marsh testify in this case in the lower court and she said that she told Mr. Dawsey to go cut those trees because it was shading her land and he could have the wood. She also said she had sent some men down there once before and I forced them away, telling her that it was my land, my trees, to stay away from there and to let them alone. When I got there the morning they were cut, they had not fallen to the ground. One of them fell over into my field and they got over there, cut it up and carried it away. It tore the fence down and I had already told Mr. Dawsey to get away from there."

The testimony of plaintiff was ample to carry the case to the jury under counts 1-A, 1-B and 1-C. There was no error in refusing the charges requested.

Plaintiff offered no evidence tending to prove the value of the lands before and after the cutting of the trees. Granade v. United States Lumber & Cotton Co., 224 Ala. 185, 139 So. 409. Nevertheless, if the jury was reasonably satisfied from the evidence that defendants were guilty of trespass, as charged in counts 3-A, 3-B and 4-A, plaintiff was entitled to recover at least nominal damages under these counts. Central of...

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13 cases
  • Charlie Stuart Oldsmobile, Inc. v. Smith
    • United States
    • Indiana Appellate Court
    • November 22, 1976
    ...intentional conduct. See i.e., Smith v. Gaston Funeral Directors v. Wilson (1955), 262 Ala. 401, 79 So.2d 48; Dawsey v. Newton (1943), 244 Ala. 661, 15 So.2d 271; B. F. Goodrich Co. v. Hughes (1940), 239 Ala. 373, 194 So. 842; McNeill v. Allen (1975), 35 Colo.App. 317, 534 P.2d 813; Valley ......
  • Dollar v. McKinney
    • United States
    • Alabama Supreme Court
    • May 29, 1958
    ...was presented as to whether the trees which were cut belonged to the plaintiff or to the defendant W. L. Dollar. See Dawsey v. Newton, 244 Ala. 661, 15 So.2d 271. We are not going to undertake to set out the testimony of the several witnesses who gave testimony concerning the so-called agre......
  • Rushing v. Hooper-McDonald, Inc.
    • United States
    • Alabama Supreme Court
    • September 5, 1974
    ...Ala. 9, 9 So. 375; Burk v. Knott, 20 Ala.App. 316, 101 So. 811.' See Ramos v. Fell, 272 Ala. 53, 128 So.2d 481 (1961); Dawsey v. Newton, 244 Ala. 661, 15 So.2d 271 (1943); Stockburger v. Aderholt, 204 Ala. 557, 86 So. 464 (1920); and Foust v. Kinney, 202 Ala. 392, 80 So. 474 (1918). A jury ......
  • Ramos v. Fell
    • United States
    • Alabama Supreme Court
    • March 30, 1961
    ...Electric Co. v. Mealing, 214 Ala. 597, 108 So. 511; Central of Georgia Ry. Co. v. Barnett, 220 Ala. 284, 124 So. 868; Dawsey v. Newton, 244 Ala. 661, 15 So.2d 271. Those charges also ignored the claim for punitive damages. See Alabama Water service Co. v. Johnson, 223 Ala. 529, 137 So. The ......
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