CHARLESTON — A man is suing Appalachian Power Company for trespassing and property damage.
American Electric Power Service Corporation, Phillips & Jordan Environmental Services, Phillips & Jordan and Phillips & Jordan Holding were also named as defendants in the suit.
Jay Folse claims he heard chainsaw noises on his property on Jan. 28, 2023, and he drove to the part of the property where the noises were coming from and saw men cutting down trees, according to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.
Folse claims the men were wearing clothing that identified them as employees of the Phillips & Kordan defendants and they stated they had been contracted by AEP and ApCo to timber the land for the installation of high voltage transmission wires.
"The employees further stated that they were previously told by their boss that they did not have permission to enter on the Plaintiff's property," the complaint states. "The employee pointed to a survey marker with a pink ribbon on it which marks the boundary...while stating the above-mentioned comment to the Plaintiff."
Folse claims the employee told him that they were told by the boss to go ahead and timber the land without permission. He claims he then spoke to an employee of ApCo whose response was "You don't really own it."
Another employee told him that William Turner owned the property and they'd obtained an easement from him, so Folse called Turner, who told Folse that he'd purchased the property from the previous land owner, according to the suit.
Folse claims he did further research and found that a deed was recorded with the transfer to Turner, but that his own deed was filed subsequent to Turner's deed.
"The easement is not valid and does not provide any authority to the Defendants to enter upon or timber the Plaintiff's land," the complaint states. "The easement was purportedly granted after the property was sold to the Plaintiff at the tax sale."
Folse is seeking compensatory damages. He is representing himself.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia case number: 2:23-cv-00201
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