Landowner Not Liable For Hidden Defect In Fallen Tree

In Down v. Town of Oyster Bay, the Supreme Court of Nassau County recently held that a tree’s internal staining and discoloration are not outwardly visible signs of a defect and, in doing so, granted the property owner summary judgment against the plaintiff’s claim that she was injured by the defendant’s falling tree. The court declined to impose a duty on a landowner to constantly check all trees for non-visible decay. Instead, the court held that a landowner is only required to take action if there are signs of decay or disease readily observable.