The estate of Kristi Leigh Oliver is suing Multnomah County, and landowners Mark and Jill Harrington, for wrongful death after a falling tree fell on the pregnant Oliver as she drove down the road, the Oregonian reports. She was just 30 years old. The estate of Ms. Oliver seeks 9.5 million dollars. Mark Harrington says the county refused him permission to cut down the huge rotting tree, which had also suffered damage from woodpeckers. The 100-foot cedar toppled without warning, by all accounts, and the event is certainly tragic.
It will be interesting to see how a jury assesses fault in this case, if it gets to a jury. They could put the blame on the landowners for failing to cut down the rotting tree. Or the blame could be placed on Multnomah County for denying Harrington the permission to cut down the massive tree. Did Mark Harrington believe the tree was dangerous, or simply unsightly? If he believed the tree was dangerous, might a jury find that he had an obligation to remove the tree, even though doing so at that time would have been illegal, in the absence of permission to remove it? It is difficult to imagine any fault imputed to the victim, but no one can be absolutely certain before it is tried in court. Oliver’s estate retains another local firm, but the incident reminds us of the importance of good representation by a personal injury attorney.
If you have been impacted by a wrongful death, and believe someone else is at fault, seek out a skilled Portland personal injury attorney. Ed Kroll and Justin Johnson know how to win. That skill and experience means they can offer you much more than just thoughts and prayers. They’re ready to serve you in your difficult time of grief and loss.