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CONFIDENTIAL – Premises liability – Failure to properly maintain campsite – Rotten tree falls on tent while he was sleeping – Above-the-knee amputation of right leg.

Withheld County, IL

In this negligent maintenance matter, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant scout group was negligent in failing to properly maintain its campground. As a result, a rotten tree fell onto the plaintiff’s tent and caused him to suffer an above-the-knee amputation. The defendant denied liability, and maintained that the plaintiff had signed a waiver prior to camping at the campground.

On July 22, ________, the 51-year-old male plaintiff was an assistant scoutmaster, and was camping at the defendant Boy Scout council’s campground. While the plaintiff was sleeping, a tree fell on top of the plaintiff’s tent, crushing both of his legs. The plaintiff required an above-the-knee amputation of his right leg as a result of the incident, and sustained crush injuries to his left leg. The plaintiff alleged that the 70 foot tall tree showed signs of rot two feet below its base, and five feet above its base upon inspection. The plaintiff brought suit against the defendant council, alleging that it was negligent in failing to properly inspect the area where camping occurred for dangerous conditions – such as rotted trees and the failure to remove the rotted trees – as well as creating a dangerous condition. The plaintiff’s wife brought a claim for loss of consortium.

The defendant denied the allegations, and maintained that the plaintiff signed a waiver prior to camping at the campground, releasing the defendant from any liability for injuries. Further, the defendant argued that he routinely performs inspections around the perimeter of the camp, but the plaintiff had been camping in an isolated area. The defendant also relied upon a law providing that the owners of recreational property do not assure that the premises are safe for any purpose, and do not assume responsibility for injuries sustained for those using the property.The matter proceeded to trial, and was resolved for an undisclosed sum during the trial in this matter.

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