Over the past year, the courts have grappled with conceptually tricky and emotionally charged questions concerning the measure of property damages for harm to trees and pets. For such harms, plaintiffs are increasingly seeking new methods of calculating damages on the theory that trees and pets have unique values not reflected in traditional damages measures. Among the emerging issues is whether a plaintiff may recover damages for intangible harms to trees or pets, such as for harm to sentimental or aesthetic values. As the decisions over the past year reflect, the courts have shown an increasing willingness to depart from objective measures set down over decades in California statutes and decisions.
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