Haeyoon Miller's Family Files Claims in Death by Tree Crushing Car
Lawyers representing Miller's father, Kang Nam-Ku of Seoul, South Korea, do not specify an amount in his claim filed Wednesday, but it does seek damages for the loss of his daughter's car, funeral expenses, financial support, services, Miller's love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society, moral support, training and guidance, as well as punitive damages "as may be allowed by law."
The tree that fell on Miller's car as she waited at a traffic stop Sept. 29 was along Irvine Avenue in Costa Mesa, but it was maintained by the City of Newport Beach. No worries: Nam-Ku's claim alleges both municipalities "negligently minted this tree, failed to conduct reasonable inspections, failed to remove a dangerous and diseased tree and failed to warn the public and the decedent, Ms. Miller, of the dangerous subject tree."
The complaint continues, "Both cities created the danger condition and also knew or should have known of this dangerous condition in a sufficient timer o have remedies the dangerous condition." City employees were "grossly negligent in their actions following the tree incident . . . by failing to stabilize the fallen tree so as to prevent its further dangerous movement," according to the filing.
The claim, which is typically the first step before a lawsuit is filed, joins another filed March 6 against Newport Beach by Miller's mother, Hyun Myung Suk of Littlerock, Calif. She is seeking "more than $10,000" amid claims a "rotten and decayed" tree weighing 10 tons posed a "hidden trap" for motorists.
The city is accused of having negligently "planted, constructed, maintained, inspected, and controlled the Subject Tree where this incident occurred in a dangerous and unsafe condition."
The complaint also accuses the city of having been aware of several other incidents involving nearby trees that fell and damaged "persons and/or property." The city's removal of the killer Blue Gum Eucalyptus, 100 others along Irvine Avenue and dozens more in Corona del Mar soon after the tragedy is portrayed in the filing as an effort to conceal and destroy evidence.
Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!