Lawyers want to pin responsibility for fallen tree death at Compounce

Posted Monday, August 2, 2004 10:07 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Assigning responsibility in the death of a 5-year-old boy struck by a tree branch at Lake Compounce in May will not be easy. The amusement park and landscaping firm hired to trim trees did not have a written contract, the park's lawyer said Friday. A contract between Lake Compounce and Total Landscaping and Tree Service of Newtown could be important in establishing responsibility in the May 16 accident in the Southington area of the park that killed Sean Rice of Shelton and injured his mother.

Read more from AP via Newsday.com.

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Monday, August 2, 2004 11:45 AM
I'm glad to hear that this isn't a lawsuit-yet. How can you blame the park for something that is part of nature? I chalk this up as a freak accident. Let's hope that this is the last fatality that The Lake has.
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Monday, August 2, 2004 2:25 PM
Jeff's avatar Well, a dead tree could very obviously be dead and a hazard, so I suppose they could pin liability on someone. That's just speculation on my part. I have no idea what the actual condition of the tree was.
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Monday, August 2, 2004 2:35 PM
Maybe they should sue the dirt, since it didn't provide enough nourishment to keep the tree alive!
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Monday, August 2, 2004 7:12 PM
nasai's avatar Well, as much as this may have the ring of "pathetic" to most of us, the simple fact is that the park is 100% liable for patrons on its property. It stinks for the park, but that's what liability insurance is for.

I hope LC recovers quickly, and this sad event is put behind us all.

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Monday, August 2, 2004 7:31 PM
What if a person has a heart attack while walking in the parking lot? Is the park liable? I think most insurance policies have a clause for natural occurances. The question is whether there was any negligence by the park that can be reasonably proven to the dumbest peers (jury) a lawyer can find! :-)
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Monday, August 2, 2004 7:37 PM
The important sentence in the article is the one that says the landscaping firm inspected trees a month before. This would seem to indicate that there was an implied contract that the landscaping firm was responsible for tree inspections. My guess is that the park will settle this case and the landscaping firm will go bankrupt and open under another name in order to protect assets. Landscape companies are notorious for going bankrupt when facing suits. The park is the party with the deep pockets. The lawyers will concentrate efforts here.
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Monday, August 2, 2004 8:56 PM
Wouldn't this fall under an "act of God" exemption, assuming the tree wasn't obviously rotten through?
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