Fallen Palm Tree an "Act of God:" City Attorney

When last inspected in 2007, the tree was listed in fair condition according to city attorneys

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC 7 San Diego
    This photo shows the tree that fell on Burke's vehicle (far right) and the one that crushed Burke's legs (left) according to an attorney for Michael and Edith Burke.

    In response to a lawsuit filed by a man paralyzed by a fallen palm tree, the City of San Diego argued the incident was an unpredictable act of God.

    Michael Burke suffered serious injuries when a Queen Palm tree along Lark Street fell on his legs in January 2010. He lost the use of his legs and blames the city for improper inspections.

    City Defends Fallen Palm Tree as 'Act of God'

    [DGO] City Defends Fallen Palm Tree as 'Act of God'
    In court Wednesday the City of San Diego said it could not have predicted that a palm tree would fall and injure a man so severely.

    The plaintiff argues the tree was owned and controlled by the City of San Diego however defense attorneys say the homeowner owned the property and the tree that fell on Burke. 

    The City Attorney's office also pointed out more than 400 trees fell in three days of a major storm.

    Burke’s attorney Browne Greene said the city "walked away from its responsibility" of caring for the trees amid budget cuts.

    However, the defense said city workers only cut down trees if someone tells them there's a problem and in this case, nobody did.

    SD Fact Check: Knocked Silly by a Coconut

    [DGO] SD Fact Check: Knocked Silly by a Coconut
    The city is not taking care of its palm trees, you may want to duck.

    City attorneys also told jurors when the city does trim palm trees, it’s not to keep them healthy but to simply remove berries before they fall.

    On Tuesday, Burke told reporters he filed the lawsuit because he’d like to see the city take steps to bring back trimming and inspection of palm trees

    “I’m concerned for my family, for my wife, for my special-needs son but I’m also concerned for others. The danger still exists for people in the community of Mission Hills,” Burke said. 

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