As any remaining snow thaws and April showers slowly make their seasonal retreat, a drive on the weekend in any neighborhood often captures the sights of many homeowners tending to their property. Whether it is putting grass seeds on the lawn, tending to vegetable gardens, or raking mulch, lots of yard activities can be accomplished at this time of year. With the surge of physical activities on property, so too is the surge of possible legal consequences in the pursuit of those, sometimes dangerous, activities.
On December 2, 2009, Jose Bonano was performing yard work at a friend’s house where he was utilizing equipment to aid him in that quest. Across the street, Dean Koz was surveying a tree on his property and determined that he needed to cut a rather large branch. The branch was described as being five inches wide and at least ten feet long, incapable of being cut while a person stood on the ground. Dean Koz went across the street and asked Mr. Bonano for his assistance in his efforts. In exchange for helping him cut the tree branch, Mr. Koz offered to help with the removal of all the brush and clippings that Mr. Bonano had stacked on the property of his friend.
Mr. Koz, the Defendant, set up the ladder on the ground under the branch. Mr. Bonano, the Plaintiff, climbed the ladder and severed the branch from the tree. As the tree branch fell to the ground it bounced back and struck the Plaintiff. This is often times in landscaping referred to as a “kick-back.” The Plaintiff fell from the ladder, hit the ground, and sustained a wrist fracture and a right arm radius fracture. He was scarred and left with decreased function in his hand and incurred significant monetary damages. Continue reading →