Woman impaled by tree branch wins $12 million from Savannah

Friday, Aug 23, 2013 9:14 AM
Last updated 6:10 PM
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SAVANNAH, Ga. -- A Savannah woman was awarded $12 million against the city of Savannah on Thursday for devastating injuries she suffered when a tree limb fell and impaled her in a truck.

Attorney Howard Spiva and his client, Shente Greene, leave a Savannah City Council workshop in April 2012. Greene lost her right leg, part of her hip and suffered internal injuries when a tree limb from a city-maintained tree fell on a truck in which she was a passenger.  Morris News Sevice
Morris News Sevice
Attorney Howard Spiva and his client, Shente Greene, leave a Savannah City Council workshop in April 2012. Greene lost her right leg, part of her hip and suffered internal injuries when a tree limb from a city-maintained tree fell on a truck in which she was a passenger.


The Chatham County State Court jury found in favor of Shanta Greene after day-long deliberations in the nine-day trial.

Attorney Howard Spiva told jurors his client “trusted the city to take care of our trees. ... If they had just done what they were supposed to do, they would have found it. … They didn’t check the tree.”

He contended the city’s Park and Tree Department knew or should have known of potential danger from the tree but did not respond properly, citing a 2007 incident in which the tree dropped a limb.

The jurors also awarded $20,000 to Greene’s cousin, Louis Anderson, who was driving, and $10,000 to his son, Xavier Anderson, 9, who was a passenger in the truck. Both suffered lesser injuries.

Greene, 31, was injured on July 2, 2010, when a tree limb fell and impaled her in the passenger seat of the pickup truck. She lost her right leg and pelvis and suffered an assortment of related physical injuries as well as a brain injury and is relegated to a wheelchair.

“There was significant evidence admitted at trial which we objected to,” Bret Bell, city spokesman, said Thursday night. “We believe we have reserved our right to appeal on many issues.”

Bell said that decision would be discussed by City Council.

According to Bell, the city’s litigation budget would not cover the total verdict, adding, “We would have to look at a variety of funding sources.”

Comments (15) Add comment
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oldredneckman96
5115
Points
oldredneckman96 08/23/13 - 08:25 am
6
3
Jackpot
Unpublished

What a crock. The courts are out of touch with the real world. The city did not cause the tree limb to fall.

Fiat_Lux
16246
Points
Fiat_Lux 08/23/13 - 09:12 am
8
3
If you've ever been to Savannah

you immediately would know that there is no way the city ever would be able to find a random damaged limb. Unless this particular tree or trees around it had been reported to the Savannah Parks and Trees as being unsafe and having dead limbs, this was an "act of God" and nothing else.

Shente found herself a good ambulance chaser and now they both are going to be quite comfortable. Of course, she will see only the far smaller fraction of this award, while Spiva will make out like a bandit.

One call, that's all.

Red Headed Step Child
4277
Points
Red Headed Step Child 08/23/13 - 10:12 am
1
2
Old Trees

They don't call them "widowmakers" for nothing!

dichotomy
36355
Points
dichotomy 08/23/13 - 10:16 am
6
2
Well, it WAS a 9 day jury

Well, it WAS a 9 day jury trial and they DID deliberate one whole day......and although I agree the city of Savannah can't find every limb that might be ready to fall, you can bet they will at least be out making a cursory inspection periodically. The "city" of Augusta might take note. We all know the tendency juries have toward the "deep pockets" syndrome when some innocent person gets injured even if there was really no practical way to prevent it.

It's kind of like running the stop sign at Ridge Rd and Washington Rd and killing someone. Even if it was just an accident, the judge HAD to have a crucifixion by giving a sentence longer than most murderers get. I wonder what the sentence would have been if it had been a relative of one of his supporters.

There is very little justice left in our judicial system....criminal OR civil.

Darby
28444
Points
Darby 08/23/13 - 10:32 am
7
2
The taxpayer gets shafted again.

I'm remembering a few years ago, when Augusta came down on Dave Barbee for cutting down a tree HE had planted on HIS property.

Said it was on the government right of way. He could have left it there to fall on someone. It that had happened, would Augusta have paid the freight, or would they have looked to Barbee?

Chances are it would have been the taxpayers whose shoulders carried the burden. It always is!

Little Lamb
48049
Points
Little Lamb 08/23/13 - 10:58 am
1
0
Local

Some more tree stories closer to home:

Read the comments on this one:

Greene Street

This one had a beehive in it:

Beehive

There were deaths in this one:

Old Oak

Fiat_Lux
16246
Points
Fiat_Lux 08/23/13 - 11:23 am
4
0
The trees in the right of way are inspected regularly

It happens when the utility companies go out to look for growth and limbs that could threaten power lines, power lines that usually run along the sides of streets. If anything is amiss beyond their scope of responsibility, they report it to the city/county.

Stuff happens. Some people, usually below the age of 5, don't understand the concept of "accidental", or that something bad could happen without someone being at fault. That idea lasts into adulthood when someone wasn't taught that life is not, in fact, fair, which happened a lot over the last 50 years or so.

butterflygina
159
Points
butterflygina 08/23/13 - 11:28 am
1
0
It says that there was an

It says that there was an incident from 2007 with a limb dropping from the tree...

ragingbull
945
Points
ragingbull 08/23/13 - 05:48 pm
5
3
This woman's pain and

This woman's pain and suffering is nothing to laugh at. She has lost a major part of her ability to function as a normal human being, a function that you and I take for granted. She will never be able to work, and probably requires medical care that we can not imagine. I do not begrudge her award one iota. But one has to give some plausibility to the fact that the city of Savannah could not predict that this one tree would drop such a limb. By the time this settlement is made valid, I am sure it will be much less than the initial 12 million.

ragingbull
945
Points
ragingbull 08/23/13 - 05:50 pm
4
4
On a lighter note, maybe the

On a lighter note, maybe the attorney will now be able to purchase suits, shirts, and ties that have a better fit and will give him a professional image.

jmo
17791
Points
jmo 08/24/13 - 03:12 am
3
0
ragingbull

With his "cut" of 12 million he can just about purchase anything he desires.

pantherluvcik
628
Points
pantherluvcik 08/24/13 - 05:29 am
3
5
dichotomy I find it

dichotomy I find it absolutely hilarious that you bring up a non-related story about a woman who KILLED a young girl because she was DRUNK and try to make it an accident. That woman got what she deserved, she didn't just run a stop sign. Everyone seems to miss the fact that she was under the influence and that she injured a family as well.

This lady deserves some compensation for her injuries. She is handicapped for life and will require assistance for the duration of her stay here on Earth. Negligence is nothing to take lightly when it alters someone elses quality of life. If that tree fell on anyone of your vehicles and you weren't in it you'd make more of a stink about their negligence. Now imagine if it were you that was injured, EVERYONE of you negative commentors would be crying lawsuit. You support a murderer who killed a young lady driving drunk, yet crucify a woman who was injured while just sitting in her car. Yeah sounds about right to me. I hope she keeps every 12 million of those dollars awarded and lives the rest of her life enjoying it.

KSL
140601
Points
KSL 08/24/13 - 07:59 am
1
1
panther

You do know the lawyer will get a huge chunk of that change.

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 08/24/13 - 08:06 am
0
0
I'm deeply
Unpublished

sorry for Ms. Greene's injuries BUT we have too much gubmint interference already. lowyer spiva just wants his share of the "mega millions" jackpot as ALL lowyers do.

like-it-is
336
Points
like-it-is 08/24/13 - 03:01 pm
0
0
butterflygina

Thanks for pointing out that a REPORT was made in 2007 about the same tree. Kinda remind me of the trees that line Walton Way. JUST SUPPOSE........................

Marinerman1
5320
Points
Marinerman1 08/26/13 - 08:25 am
0
0
One Call, That's All

Yeah, the lawyer will take 40%. Must've been a helluva limb, to have caused that much injury. "Did you get the license number of that tree"?

scoopdedoop64
2488
Points
scoopdedoop64 08/27/13 - 09:21 pm
0
0
Average Pay

Average pay for attorney in a lawsuit like this is one third of the settlement.

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