San Jose Prepares $325K Payout To Family of Toddler Killed By Tree

A 2-year old was killed by a falling tree in 2010

By Chris Roberts
|  Friday, May 3, 2013  |  Updated 2:06 PM PDT
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FILE ART - A rotting silver maple tree fell and killed a 2-year old San Jose boy.

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The family of a 2-year old San Jose boy killed by a 10-ton tree in 2010 may receive a $325,000 payout.

It is quite a turnaround in the tale of Mateo Ortiz, 2, who died on Jan. 22, 2010 when a rotting silver maple tree fell on his parents' pickup truck, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

The family was waiting for their 13-year old son in front of a home on South Seventh Street when a tree collapsed on the vehicle. All three were trapped in the car for over an hour. The boy later died at a hospital.

A claim for damages filed in 2010 was rejected by San Jose city officials, so the family sued in 2011, the newspaper reported. The city denied a claim, saying that the root rot in the tree was the responsibility of the nearby property owners, and not the city.

The city stopped maintaining trees on public rights-of-way in 2008, the newspaper reported.

The city has denied liability but wants to avoid a trial. The $325,000 payout, which City Attorney Rick Doyle said will avoid a trial, has been accepted by Esmerelda Galan and Jose Ortiz, Mateo Ortiz's parents.

The City Council is scheduled to approve the settlement on May 14.

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