A couple has settled a lawsuit against a county in Washington State for $1.2 million. The Plaintiffs were injured in a fall from a suspension bridge at a bed and breakfast made up of tree houses. The suit was filed in federal court after an incident in 2008 at the “Out `n’ About Treesort” in Takilma, Wash. In July 2008, Michelle Buswinka and Maurice Breslin, their two children and another family member, were guests at the resort and were having their picture taken on a bridge on the premises. It was alleged in their Complaint that “while holding onto the railing, it suddenly and unexpectedly broke,” causing the Plaintiffs “to pitch forward to the ground, head-first.”
The Plaintiffs contended that the Josephine County failed to inspect and issue permits for construction of the bridge; failed to require the design to meet applicable standards; and failed to stop the resort from building structures without inspections and permits. Ms. Buswinka suffered spinal injuries and a fractured left wrist. Mr. Breslin had injuries to his brain, ribs, left shoulder and arm. Each Plaintiff claimed mental anguish and emotional distress.
The resort, “Out `n’ About Treesort,” was created in 1990, and apparently has had a history of problems. It was reported that the county’s history with the resort has involved multiple legal actions, including cease-and-desist orders and threats to tear down the tree houses over permit issues. Ultimately, the county allowed the resort to continue operating under a permit designed for bed and breakfast establishments. The treesort is permitted to have only five rooms, or in this case, tree houses. It appears the resort has continued to expand. On its website, 18 tree houses, rope bridges, zip-lines and rope swings are listed. The county’s insurance company agreed to settle the claim.
Source: Claims Journal
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