AD was tragically killed while riding a jet ski on a lake in Miami. He was only 15 years old. Justin Grosz, through an investigation on behalf of AD’s parents, discovered that the events which led to his death actually started in the wake of Hurricane Andrew, over 15 years earlier. An Australian pine tree, over 80 feet tall, had been knocked down in the storm at the bank of a privately owned lake. The homeowner tried to push the tree into the lake, to sink it, but the tree was too large and dense. Rather than sink it or have it removed, the homeowner left the tree on a shallow shelf at the edge of the lake, with the trunk extending over 50 feet into the navigable part of the waterway. When the tide was low, the tree was exposed and visible but as the tide rose, the tree was obscured, just beneath the surface.
The homeowners who lived on the lake hired a lake maintenance company to take care of the lake. Over the years, the homeowners became aware that the tree was jutting into the waterway and the lake maintenance company even struck it on multiple occasions while cleaning the lake. Despite knowledge of the tree’s existence and that it had been struck before, no one ever removed the tree. AD was invited by a friend to go jet skiing and had never been on that lake before. As he came around the lake, the jet ski struck the obscured tree, redirecting him into a dock. In an extremely difficult and hard fought case, which spanned closed to five years, involved hundreds of defendants, depositions and a host of legal issues ranging from riparian rights to water safety maintenance and accident reconstruction, justice was finally achieved and the case was ultimately settled confidentially in excess of seven figures.