Negligence or Not? You Be the Judge

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A farm owner in Northern Kentucky hired a tree removal service to clean up some fallen tree limbs on his property.  There’s nothing peculiar about this; it happens all the time.  The result, though, was unexpected and tragic and led to lawsuits filed against both the farm owner and the tree removal company by the owner of a neighboring farm.

As part of the clean-up process, employees of the tree removal company operated a wood chipper, a mechanical device that grinds limbs into sawdust that can be carted away.  Wood chippers are very efficientÑand very noisy.  According to the lawsuits, the racket from the wood chipper spooked some horses in a field adjacent to the clean-up work.  One of the horses ran into something that severed an artery in his neck, causing the animal’s death; another horse suffered injuries serious enough that he could not race.  The horse owner claimed that either the farm owner who hired the company, or the tree removal company and its employees, or both, were negligent and caused the injuries to his horses

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