Philadelphia personal injury lawyer Lawrence Cohan and his associate David Carney achieved a settlement of nearly $765,000 on behalf of a Columbia County man injured by a fallen tree branch. The verdict is believed to be the largest verdict in Columbia County history.
Bill Kocher spent more than two weeks in intensive care recovering from catastrophic injuries after he was pinned under a tree branch that separated from the rotted tree stem and crashed through the windshield of his car in July 2010.
After three hours of deliberation, the jury found the property owners and the township negligent for failing to remove the tree branch that hung 14 feet above the street.
The defendants maintain that the tree was not located on their property and was not unhealthy. The subject tree was located five feet from the homeowner defendant’s front porch and was maintained by the defendant on previous occasions.
An attorney for the township told Press Enterprise that “their job is to maintain roads, not trees,” However, the township had a maintenance program in which crews would patrol the subject street and remove rotted branches that overhung the roadway because they were considered to be a danger to the public.
Cohan believes the jury “… delivered a fair verdict.”