City of Charlotte, North Carolina Sued for Wrongful Death From Falling Tree Accident

October 9, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

The family of Kay Plyler, the 53-year-old woman who died last year after a tree fell on her car, is suing the city of Charlotte for wrongful death. The civil lawsuit contends that the tree was a public hazard that should have been removed.

The North Carolina premises liability accident happened on March 8, 2008, when a tree, located close to the corner of East and Asheville Place, fell on Plyler’s black SUV. Plyler’s 14-year-old daughter was in the motor vehicle with her. While the teenager did not sustain physical injuries, the complaint says that she suffered emotional trauma from the deadly accident.

Also according to the wrongful death lawsuit, the tree, which was suffering from 90% root decay, should have been removed. Other trees in the area that were suffering from similar health issues were taken away.

This is not the first time Charlotte has been sued over a tree. In 2003, the city was sued for personal injury because of a tree. Another lawsuit for property damage involving a tree was filed in 2005.

Just last week, a 35-year-old woman was in Charlotte driving her two young children in her car when she was almost struck by a giant oak tree that fell. Fortunately, no one was injured.

Over 400 people died because of falling trees or limbs between 1995 and 2007. In Charlotte, high winds and soggy soil are just some of the conditions that can cause the city’s older trees to fall, potentially causing injury to motorists, pedestrians, and residents, as well as damage to power lines. There are steps that city officials and property owners can take to make sure that such accidents do not happen.

Some 160,000 trees are planted in Charlotte’s public areas. Each year, workers cut down some 300 to 400 trees that are in poor health.

Family suing city over tree that killed woman, Charlotte Observer, January 11, 2009

Our cherished trees can be a danger,, January 11, 2009

Related Web Resources:

Who Is Responsible When Your Tree Falls?, Realty Times, January 12, 2009

8 Signs of a Sick Tree,


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