San Mateo County and Its Utility Will Pay $47.5 Million in Falling Tree Case

San Mateo County and two of its contractors will pay a combined $47.5 million to a young man who was seriously injured by a falling tree in San Mateo Memorial County Park six years ago.

Zachary Rowe was 12 years old at the time of the incident. He lost his leg and part of his pelvis after the diseased tree fell on his tent during a camping trip. Attorneys for Rowe argued that the accident was a result of negligence by the county and its hazardous tree inspector Davey Tree.

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and its vegetation-management contractor Western Environmental Consultants (WECI) were also named in the suit. The defendants asked for the case to be dismissed, but courts sided with the plaintiff.

San Mateo and Davey Tree will now doll out $30 million to settle the case. PG&E contractor WECI will pay another $17.5 million.

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