A campground sued by a family who filed a personal injury claim against it after a tree fell was granted its motion for summary judgment by a Delaware court, according to Legal Newsline.
On Sept. 12, Judge Calvin L. Scott Jr. of the Superior Court of the State of Delaware sided with Big Oaks Trailer Park Inc., doing business as Big Oaks Campground, and Boyer’s Tree Service in Scott and Danielle Stephenson’s lawsuit against them. The Stephensons sued individually and as guardian ad litem for minor daughters Ava and Lillian Stephenson.
The ruling states the Stephensons were camping on Big Oaks’ property in 2015 when a huge tree limb at their campsite broke and fell on their camp area. The plaintiffs alleged they were hit by parts of the tree and sustained physical and mental injuries. The plaintiffs alleged that Big Oaks was negligent when it didn’t sufficiently inspect and remove trees.
Big Oaks Trailer Park sought to exclude testimony from the plaintiffs’ liability expert Russell Carlson, arguing that he was not qualified because he is an arborist and not a campground manager.
“There is no question that Russell Carlson’s testimony would help the trier of fact understand the extent of the latent damage to the oak tree of which plaintiffs allege defendant should have been aware,” Scott wrote. “But plaintiffs have offered Carlson to show how defendant breached his duty. As an arborist, Carlson is not qualified to give an opinion on a campground owner’s duty of care.”
The plaintiffs alleged that if Big Oaks Trailer Park had called an arborist, it would have known of the tree’s weaknesses.
“Whether this is true or not, it is not the correct standard,” Scott wrote.
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