The city of San Diego was found responsible on Monday by a jury for the collapse of a giant palm tree that resulted in the paralysis of a Mission Hills man back in 2010.
A jury in a San Diego Superior Court after hearing the case and three days of deliberation later decided that the city was liable for a sum of damages to Michael Burke and his wife, Edith. Jurors are now calculating the amount of damages the city will have to pay.
Michael was paralyzed in January 21, 2010 when a giant queen palm tree toppled on him outside of his Mission Hills home on Lark Street after a four-day storm and smashed his legs.
According to UT San Diego, Burke alleged that the city was responsible because they had significantly reduced the amount of yearly inspections and maintenance they performed on trees. These finding can perhaps be used by San Diegans in the community to force the city to be more proactive in maintaining their trees.
Michael is now dependent on a wheelchair and may have to get his leg amputated because of the severity of the injuries. Financially, his injuries translate to millions of dollars in bills.
San Diego city lawyers argued that the falling of the tree was an unforeseeable event. And because there was no record or prior mention or complaints of the tree being in a deteriorative condition, there was no way in which the city could have predicted that the tree would fall that day. Jurors did not agree.
Burke argued that the city knew there were trees falling throughout the city all along but had failed to notify its residents. There had been two trees in the same area that had fallen in the past.
Burke was emptying the contents of his trunk at about 6:30 p.m. when about two hours later, the second tree over fifty feet tall and weighing over a ton fell injured him.
When the jurors were asked if the city had enough notice of the condition of the tree to do something to alleviate the problem, they voted yes with an overwhelming majority of 10-2; and, was the dangerous condition of giant arbor a factor in Burke’s injuries? They answered yes.
If you were out emptying the contents of your car and city tree fell on you and you were injured, contact a San Diego injury lawyer today.