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Calif. City Sued Over Death Caused by Dead Tree

Forest trees in city

Municipalities are responsible for maintaining trees found on public property, especially those that are near sidewalks and roads. When they fail in their duties, residents may be gravely injured — or even killed. This has been the case at least four times over the last 16 months. Recently, an 80-foot eucalyptus tree fell in Penn Park in Whittier. A wedding party was taking photos under the tree, and when it fell, it killed one person and injured seven others.

The incident is currently under investigation by arborists. Penn Park will remain closed until there is an explanation as to why the 50-year-old tree fell. Investigators will also inspect other trees to ensure they are not at risk. One explanation offered was that the drought, in combination with the large amount of recent rain, put the tree under stress, causing it to topple.

Elsewhere, a teenager in Oakland was killed last year when he was climbing a tree, and a limb snapped. The teen was climbing with his friends when the limb snapped from under him, and his head was crushed. Now, the parents of that teen are filing a lawsuit against the city, alleging that the tree should have been removed sooner. The lawsuit does state that the tree was marked for removal because it was either dying or dead, but it was not removed in a timely manner.

According to the family’s attorney, a spokesman for the city told the family that the tree could have been cut down earlier. However, arborists have many trees to monitor, and did not get to it in time. In addition, urban foresters are given a very small budget to work with.

That particular tree was popular with teenagers because it provided a beautiful view of the sunset and Lake Merritt nearby. A local certified arborist investigated the area of the incident and said there were other trees nearby with dead branches.

If you had a loved one who was killed by someone else’s actions or negligence in Redlands, you may be entitled to compensation. Though no amount of money can bring your loved one back, holding the responsible party accountable can help make sure no one else faces the same pain. Contact the attorneys at MBLK Law Firm today for a free consultation.

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Stephen Levine, is a Board Certified Specialist in Criminal Defense — an honor achieved by only the top criminal law attorneys in California. Mr. Levine has over 40 years of experience in criminal defense and family law serving Southern California, and is a highly regarded Super Lawyer as well as AV Rated attorney.