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$4 Million Settlement – Tree Branches Obscure Driver’s Vision

The tree branches on several olive trees on a vacant lot on Fern Street in Merced County protruded over the road in an area where little children played. A 3-year-old boy came out from underneath the overhanging branches onto the road and was struck by a car. The driver could not see the child in time to stop because of the overgrown vegetation. The property owners and the county had allowed the overgrown trees to violate a county set back ordinance and had failed to cut back the branches. We contended that the roadway was in a dangerous condition and that the County of Merced was required to trim the trees. The absentee property owner allowed the children to play on their property and did not trim the trees. The case settled at the start of trial, and the settlement funds have been used to allow the Hmong family to appropriately take care of their brain-damaged child.