NORWALK (CBSLA) – The family of 61-year-old Margarita Mojarro’s, who was killed by a falling 80-foot tree at her daughter’s 2016 wedding in Whittier, have settled with the tree care company hired by the city. Mojarro’s family had also previously reached a tentative $28 million settlement with the city.
According to the complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court in April 2017, the tree that toppled over during the Dec. 2016 wedding was overwatered and allowed to grow on an unsafe 20% grade. The tree was a Blue Gum eucalyptus that had become “acutely diseased,” according to the lawsuit. “Before plaintiffs knew what was happening, the massive, multi-thousand-pound tree was upon them and they could not escape its path of destruction.”READ MORE: Man Critically Injured With Burns From Fire At Vacant, Boarded Up Home
A half-dozen people were treated at a nearby hospital for non-life-threatening injuries, but the bride’s 3-year-old niece was hospitalized and in critical condition from traumatic brain injury, as a result of the incident.
The terms of the settlement with West Coast Arborists LLP, the company contracted by the city, were not made public. A cross-complaint against the West Coast Arborists by the City of Whittier is also pending.READ MORE: Gym Owners Drop Complaint Over Coronavirus Restrictions
In earlier court proceedings, lawyers for the City of Whittier stated that the accident was “a tragic stroke of nature,” but that there was no basis for determining the city was at fault or liable under California law.
The family’s attorney, however, said the city knew about the dangerous condition of the tree, located in a popular spot for photos, and that it had the means and authority to protect visitors to the park.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)MORE NEWS: Los Angeles Times Editorial Writer, Robert Greene, Wins Pulitzer Prize