Belmont Parents Sue California After Tree Falls On Toddler

The family of a seriously injured three year-old girl is suing California for damages after a rotting tree fell on the girl, crushing her skull, during a state park camping trip.

Eric and Michele Moyer of Belmont say the tree, suffering from sudden oak death disease, collapsed on their daughter while she slept in their tent a year ago at a campsite at Portola Redwoods State Park in La Honda. The San Mateo County Superior Court suit seeks unspecified damages.

KCBS Melissa Culross Reporting:

The San Jose Mercury News says the girl’s skull was crushed, causing permanent brain damage.

The suit says the diseased tree should have been removed from the high-use campground.

California parks spokesman Roy Stearns says they haven’t reviewed the case and cannot comment.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

More from Melissa Culross
  • Wong

    California and all U.S. cities should close and sell all the parks to avoid this sort of financial burden. The more you do for people the more likely you would get sued. What for? This is a litigious society and that is why we have more lawyers than MD’s or engineers. We should all just play in our own backgound and sue our own family members for mishaps.

  • Jeez

    Maybe those smart parents shouldn’t have set their tent up under a rotten tree. The government can’t protect all humans from their own stupidity. We have to think for ourselves once in a while too. If someone doesn’t mark an open manhole, is it the city’s fault if someone falls inside it? Or should people watch where they’re walking and not fall into large holes?!?

    • sickofignorance

      JEEZ..COMPLETE IGNORANCE!! You really think all people should understand what sudden oak death looks like??? That is why they have professionals out there to tag the trees and test them for that disease! What the heck are you talking about people walking and falling into large holes? Yes it is the cities responsibility to mark a MAN HOLE! That is what we THE TAXPAYERS pay them for! Yeah I bet you never tripped and fell in your entire life and if you did you blamed yourself right?? You never said..oh that stupid crack in the road or that damn rock! You fully take responsibility for all actions that happen in your life! I bet if this happened to your child you would sit back and say “it is all my fault, I know so much about sudden oak death, why why would I set my child in front of this tree!” By the way, they were staying at a state campground and imagine that, they paid those registration fees to the STATE OF CALIFORNIA. They are responsible for keeping that area safe! I am so sorry for what happened to this family and hope they have some peace soon in their lives and hopefully they are not listening to these horrible things that people like you are saying!

  • bill browning

    pathetic simply pathetic, can nobody take responsibility for their own actions.. if your stupid enough to put your tent under a rotting tree something bad may happen,, yea great idea sue the state it was they who told you to camp ther eand put your tent under the dead tree.. I feel fro your daughter but don’t balme others for your own negligence,, just ridiculous

  • Mary

    Although what happened to the girl is very sad, I can’t help thinking that people need to take responsibility for their own actions. Use your head when you are out and about – trees fall, animals can attack, floods happen – you can’t be protected from everything. What happened is an unfortunate accident that shouldn’t be blamed on the failure to remove a dead or dying tree. Logic would tell you that underneath such a tree is not a good place to be. People need to take responsibility for their own actions.

  • Gail Grancsay

    When you sleep with nature you take your chances! Is the state of California now liable for every tree in the woods???!! They saw the dead tree. Why did they camp under it? I suspect these people don’t have insurance to take care of their kid, so they expect me, a taxpayer, to pay for care of this child! GET REAL PEOPLE! I don’t owe you a damn thing! I don’t feel sorry for you one bit.

  • Alan

    Wong needs to get real. That’s a really dumb response and totally realistic. Taking that approach, maybe we should all stop buying cars and stop driving just in case we accidentally get in an accident. As for the other comments, I agree wholeheartedly. Whatever happened to personal responsibility? Just pay attention to where you are and what you’re doing. Yes, it is extremely unfortunate for the young girl and I feel bad for her & her parents, but did the state put a gun to their head and force them to camp in that spot? No, it was their own choice.

  • Mary

    The parents should be put in jail for endangering their child. They pitched that tent under the tree.

    What idiots! We need tort reform now!

  • sesameleigh

    how obvious is sudden oak death? really? just plain logic would tell you?
    i agree things happen and you can’t be protected from everything and expect someone to be legally responsible for events like this. it’s a tragic thing and i feel for the little girl.
    everyone keep their eyes up towards the branches…

  • Things to do in Pinellas County | Camping Travel

    […] Belmont Parents Sue California After Tree Falls On Toddler The family of a seriously injured three year-old girl is suing California for damages after a rotting tree fell on the girl, crushing her skull, during a state park camping trip. Read more on CBS 5 Bay Area […]

  • john m

    The government wil not allow itself to be sued for negligence when acts of nature occur. Trees get diseased and die. Are we supposed to pay for tree healthcare when the state has to make tough decisions to makes cuts in the states budget. I’m pretty sure there are quite a few trees suffering from some disease or another at all state parks. I just read that a man was killed when a tree that was also a redwood and diseased fell during the past weekends storm and landed on top his suburban. Should his family sue the state because the tree was next to the hwy. These are both tragic accidents caused by nature. there is no negligence by the state .If the state allows itself to be sued a precedent would be set that would open a floodgate of lawsuits whenever issues where the state can no longer fund programs or keep staff levels at a peak and an injury or accident occurs.

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