Falling Tree that Caused Back and Ankle Injuries to Lake County, Illinois Woman Results in Jury Verdict of 4.52 Million

A Lake County, Illinois jury delivered a $4.5 million verdict in an Illinois personal injury case where a 60 year-old woman suffered injuries when a 67 foot tree fell on her as she was walking her dog near a golf course. This Illinois personal injury verdict is one of the highest in the past 20 years in cases where the injuries were caused by a falling tree. Cathy Stackhouse v. Lakemoor Country Club, Inc. et al., No. 08 L 610.

Cathy Stackhouse claimed that on April 26, 2008, she was walking her dog along the edge of the Lakemoor Country Club golf course property when a tree on the golf course fell on her. The tree limb hit Stackhouse between her shoulder blades that resulted in a fractured vertebrae in her lower back and a broken left ankle. She required surgeries for both injuries.

The jury returned the Illinois premise liability verdict against Lakemoor Country Club, Inc. and a co-defendant Royce Realty & Management Co., Inc. finding each to be 50% responsible. It was argued during the trial that the owner of the country club and its management company were both negligent for having chosen not to take the appropriate steps to inspect their trees along the course property.

Stackhouse lives in a trailer home on property that backs up to the country club property line. According to the attorney for Ms. Stackhouse, she had earlier notified the golf course’s superintendent that a similar tree had fallen near her backyard in 2006. The tree was supposed to have a fungus infestation that had rotted the inside of the tree causing it to fall in 2006 and that the tree that fell on Ms. Stackhouse in 2008 had become infected with the same fungus.

The defendants argued that there was no duty to inspect trees along the property line and that the woman was trespassing on the golf course at the time of her injuries. The defendants also argued that extraordinary winds caused the tree to fall and that she bore some fault in causing her own injuries, because she either saw or should have seen the falling tree.

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Illinois premise liability lawsuits for over 30 years, serving those areas in and around Cook County, including Schaumburg, Lincolnshire, Orland Park, and Peoria.

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