Gentleman is suing a lot of people because a 16-pound pinecone fell on his head

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I’d like to have some witty or snarky response to this…but I just can’t seem to find one today. not today.


“Don’t sit under the bunya bunya tree,” is advice exactly as old as the arrival of humanity in Australia.


Perhaps he and the Aunt-suing-her-nephew should sue each other for the title of world’s silliest use of the court system.


Further evidence that everything in Australia will attempt to kill you.


It might be the same… The aunt says she was forced to sue to get her insurance to pay for medical costs… this could be the same.


not hard enough?


The Araucaria evolved in the Mesozoic, and aren’t much concerned with the sensitivities of little, scurrying mammals like us.


Only silly because of America’s ridiculous medical insurance system, at least in the case of the aunt. I would not at all be surprised if it’s the same with this dude.


This. The extent of his injuries are horrific!
I had a concussion last year, and I have lasting affects from it that I’m sure will be with me forever, and that just just a concussion, not a “crushing” of the skull. His medical bills must be insane! And he’ll never work again… $5 million does not seem like that much when you think about his care and income for the next 20-30 years.


I’m torn on this. Usually I scoff at people who get hurt in nature… But at the same time that tree is not native. It isn’t like he tried to hand feed a bear. I have never encountered a tree with pine cones that large. It being non-native i wouldn’t even expect to see such a thing. And it wasn’t just out in the woods, it appears to be in a park, correct?

I think it is a reasonable expectation to be able to sit in a public park with trees planted by the park services and not have a 16 lb object fall on me.

IMHO, how ever decided to plant that tree didn’t think things through. I think they should maybe pay the guy.

As for a solution, they need to:

  1. Cut them down.
  2. Fence off the area.
  3. Put nets about 10 feet from the ground to catch falling cones.
  4. Train monkeys with knives or pruning shears to climb up and cut down the pine cones when they are green.

Personally I like option 4. Can you imagine the cute little hard hats they would wear?


And if you DO have medical insurer, sometimes it’s the insurer that makes you sue.


It is a bit complicated.

The suit alleges that there were no warning signs posted and no fences or netting to prevent people from hanging out under the trees, violating numerous park policies requiring the removal of exotic species that create safety hazards and mandating the installation of warning signs “necessary for visitor safety.”

Those things are absolutely deadly. I loved having them around when I lived in the city, but I confess that even SF doesn’t really have the cultural awareness that would allow you to plant them without concern. It’s a tough call: I also loved having the Blue Angels come out, but I also know that every other year one of them digs a furrow outside of some airshow in Kansas, and the repercussions when that happens in SF aren’t going to be an expensive plane and some corn.


Let’s hope the defence centres around the simple statement that the government cannot reasonably be held responsible for perfectly natural events that occur regardless of any human organisation’s intervention and pure bad luck.

Trees often drop branches, which typically weigh a great deal more than 16lb. And pretty much all the large trees common in Northern California (Eucalyptus, Redwoods, etc.) have reputations for dropping branches often, but the park service will put campgrounds under them. And this didn’t even involve one of those.

And @Ratel - yes and no… this is park is right across from Ghirardelli Square, so right downtown in a very urban environment. Its not like he was out in the wild or hiking, he took a nap under a tree in a down town park. The biggest fear there would maybe to wake up missing your wallet, not with a crushed skull from a 16lb pinecone.


An Australian tree growing in a San Francisco park is not “perfectly natural.”

See, that’s perfectly natural, and something a reasonable person could expect when in Northern California. Pine cones the weight of a bowling ball are not.


Ok - I agree with that. Broken and dead limbs falling happen. But that is a reasonable risk I would assume. Having part of a tree fall is something I would expect to see at some point. But trees dropping limbs is pretty rare.

I have no idea how many pine cones those trees make, but could I assume dozens? Regular pine trees drop tons of cones. The frequency of them dropping is what makes them a hazard. No one can predict if a tree has a bad limb and a gust takes it down. Everyone knows eventually a pine cone will fall. But if you have no idea you are under a bunya tree you have no idea you should be exercising extra caution.


I got bad news for you: most of the large trees growing in the SF and the Bay Area as a whole are from Australia.

Which makes it “perfectly natural” how?