Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Think That Thee Shall Never See...

A lawsuit naming defendant, thee?

...make no mistake: The trees are out to get us. One of them, a sycamore, reached over the road at Seattle Center last year and grabbed a delivery truck. When the driver, a Kent man, tried to escape, the tree dropped a branch onto his head, giving him a concussion.

What could he do but sue the city?

Last year, a spindly but clever sapling that lives near Union Station got in the way of a man who tripped and fell into the tree's sidewalk planter pit. He too has sued the city.

Then there are Seattle's more than 100,000 street trees, who, despite feigning impassive poses, are feverishly working to attack us from below.

...the roots of these trees are buckling sidewalks around town, slamming unassuming pedestrians to the ground. Sixty-seven people have been so battered navigating tree-destroyed sidewalks in the past three years that the city has paid out more than a half-million dollars in damage claims.

"You shouldn't have to worry about trees and tree planters when you're walking about," the man who fell near Union Station said in a court deposition last fall.

.... San Francisco reports that half of its costs for maintaining the city's trees now go to settling lawsuits.

I admit I have strong feelings on this topic because I was once sued over a tree.

A former neighbor in West Seattle alleged that roots from my tree had clogged his sewer line. His toilet overflowed and he had to spend a weekend in a motel. He also bought a new sewer line.

The suit seemed so frivolous — "You're suing my tree?" — that I implored my insurance company to fight my neighbor. Instead they paid him $18,000.

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