S.D. Jury: City Owes Couple $126K for Dead Trees

October 31, 2011

A Pennington County jury says the city of Rapid City owes a local couple more than $125,000 for the loss of 42 pine trees that experts say were killed by salt used to de-ice a neighboring street.

The Rapid City Journal reports that a jury last week awarded Conrad and Leone Rupert $126,530 for the removal, clean-up and replacement of the trees. A local arborist valued each tree at $2,400.

Seventh Circuit Judge Janine Kern earlier found that the city de-icing practices were responsible for the damage and the resulting loss of the trees.

Interim city attorney Tamara Pier said the city must salt the streets to control snow and ice, and federal law prohibits using sand.

A lawyer for the couple declined to comment.

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