Family Of Tree-Cutting Victim Settles For $950,000
Mary Ann L. Ostop, Administratrix of the Estate of George C. Roselli v. Maximum Tree Service LLC: The family of a man who was killed after getting hit in the head by a tree that was being cut down will collect $950,000 after settling their lawsuit against the company hired by the town of Simsbury to do the work.
On the morning of July 3, 2012, Maximum Tree Service LLC began cutting small trees and bushes from a very long driveway and road near where George C. "Craig" Roselli, 73, of Simsbury, lived. The area was heavily wooded, and Roselli lived in an in-law apartment in a residence with his sister, Mary Ann Ostop, and her husband, Dick Ostop.
Roselli was a retired school teacher from New Jersey who had moved up to Connecticut to live with his sister and her family some 15 to 20 years earlier, according to the family's lawyer, John J. Houlihan Jr., of RisCassi & Davis in Hartford.
At 11:33 a.m. on July 3, Roselli returned home from doing errands and, with the tree-cutters already worrking, had to park his car on a cul de sac. A truck and wood-chipper were in sight as Roselli began to walk up the driveway.
Houlihan noted that there were no cones or caution tape to warn any pedestrians that work was being done.
Without warning, while walking up the driveway, Roselli was struck on the top of the head by a falling tree that was about 8 inches in diameter. "It was freakish that a medium-sized tree would land exactly where he was walking," said Houlihan.
Roselli was rushed to St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, but he died of head injuries later that day. "It was a pretty awful situation," said Houlihan. "It was clear early on these were fatal injuries."
Crew members told police that they did not see Roselli. Maximum Tree Service had been hired by the town of Simsbury after Roselli's sister and her husband had called the town about the overegrown brush.
As a result of Roselli's death, his sister and her family contacted Houlihan and filed a negligence lawsuit against Maximum Tree Service. Essentially the claim was that tree-cutting crew members should have seen Roselli and warned him. Additionally, said Houlihan, "they could have roped up the driveway from pedestrian traffic."
Houlihan said that one of the crew members acknowledged that the person who actually did the cutting typically tried to ascertain the whereabouts of other workers prior to cutting down a tree. "The worker took special care to know the location of co-workers to let the tree fall, but didn't take any effort to make sure no one [else] was on the driveway, which was visible from where he was," said Houlihan.