Matt Cline was seriuosly injured when a tree in Albermarle County fell on a public road, crushed his car and fractured his neck. He filed suit against the properly owners where the tree was located, and claimed that this tree was dying, dead or rotten with visible signs of decay and that the owners knew or should have known of the tree's condition and done something about it before it fell.

They didn't and it fell across a public road.

The question was: "do these set of facts even allege a claim in Virginia?" In other words, even if you prove every word as true, can you win?

The Virginia Supreme Court said "based on the common law of England, which we follow if there isn't a contrary Virginia law in place, the answer is no."

There is no duty to even inspect a tree on your own property to determine that it may pose a grave danger to others passing on a public road.

This was a 4-3 decision (Cline v. Dunlora Sourth, LLC, June 7 2012.)

What do you think?


Ben Glass
Ben Glass is a nationally recognized Virginia injury, medical malpractice, and long-term disability attorney
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