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Across the Nation: Chief judge laments big fee ruling as correct yet unfair

Chief judge laments big fee ruling as correct yet unfair

BOISE, Idaho — An Idaho man will have to pay nearly $100,000 in legal fees after cutting down 19 of his neighbor’s trees in a logging job.

Chief Justice of the Idaho Supreme Court Jim Jones says the ruling is legally correct but unfair to Kenneth Eyer, according to The Spokesman-Review.

The Supreme Court on Monday ordered Eyer to pay more than $95,000 in attorney fees for an unsuccessful counter-lawsuit over a 2009 logging job. Eyer logged part of his Sagle property to raise money for his wife’s chemotherapy bills but inadvertently logged some of his neighbor’s trees, violating Idaho’s “timber trespass” laws.

Eyer’s trouble started when he went to sell some of the timber on his property. Boundaries were incorrectly flagged and a neighbor’s trees valued at $1,600 were sold. The neighbor sued and under Idaho state law was eligible for triple damages. The Eyers settled for $50,000, to be paid out of the couple’s estate after they die.

The Eyers countersued Idaho Forest Group, the logging company that mismarked the boundary and cut down the offending trees, and continued that countersuit after the settlement with the neighbors. A jury ruled that Idaho Forest Group was not responsible and on Monday, the Supreme Court agreed.

Eyer’s attorney, Arthur Bistline, could not be reached Monday for comment.

“I made $6,500 on the logging,” said Eyer, 87, whose wife, Sally, died in January. “I’m destroyed — I’m financially destroyed over somebody else’s little mistake.”

Jones wrote in an opinion that the court procedures be changed to be faster and to reduce the cost of litigation so someone like Eyer won’t face such high costs in the future.

 

Suspect in lawyer kidnap plot loses evidence fight

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. — A judge has ruled that a man accused of plotting to kidnap his attorney over a personal injury settlement was arrested properly.

The judge also ruled Glenn Terry’s statements to police about his plans to kidnap Frank Tinari will be admissible at his trial. He faces charges including attempted kidnapping.

The defense had said that police may have improperly stopped Terry.

The judge says Terry admitted he wanted to duct tape and handcuff Tinari and take him to Terry’s father’s basement in Holtsville. The judge says Terry told police he wanted to douse Tinari in gasoline so he’d understand what Terry was going through.

Tinari, who is the chairman of the Suffolk Conservative Party, had won Terry a $450,000 settlement after Terry was scalded from falling into a bathtub.

 

Bank to pay $24M to settle fee, kickback claims

PITTSBURGH — PNC Financial Services Group will pay at least $24 million to settle class-action claims that a Virginia bank it acquired charged excessive fees and kicked back money to a mortgage broker for customer referrals.

The settlement first reported Tuesday by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review is detailed in documents filed in U.S. District Court, Pittsburgh.

It stems from claims filed against the Community Bank of Northern Virginia, which was bought by Mercantile Bankshares Inc. in 2005. The lawsuit became PNC’s problem when it acquired Baltimore-based Mercantile in 2006.

A federal judge has appointed a panel of three arbiters who will decide by March 31 whether PNC’s $24 million settlement offer will be ratified, or whether the plaintiffs should get $70 million, as they claim.

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