The court pointed to the rule that urban landowners have a duty to take reasonable care to make sure trees on their property are safe. This reasonable care rule seems, well, reasonable. However, I can't help but be alarmed by the outcome in this case.
I'm not saying the woman did not deserve to be compensated for her injuries. The problem I have is that it's difficult to determine what reasonable means in any given situation. Should you have all trees on your property inspected? Should you do it every year? Every five years? Apparently, the tree branch in this case was very large. Does that make a difference?
The property was owned by Jesus People, a not-for-profit organization located on the north side. The lawsuit was brought in Cook County Circuit Court. Jesus People claimed, among other things, that it was unusually windy that day and that they had had the tree for 20 years without any clues that it was unsafe.
Was this the right outcome? It seems harsh, but I suppose someone has to be responsible for tree branches. The tree was on private property, so the city wasn't responsible. And you can't blame the poor woman who was injured. So that just leaves the property owner.
Legal Tip Of The Day from Chicago attorney Jeffrey Friedman: If you are being sexually harassed by a co-worker at work, be ready to explain how you complained about it and to whom you complained. If you don't complain, the company may be able to defeat the case saying they never knew about it.
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