Wisconsin high court rules landscaper can be liable in death

The entrance to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. (WLUK file photo/Andrew LaCombe)

MADISON (AP) -- The Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled a landscaping company can be held liable in the 2012 death of a teacher who was fatally struck by a falling tree branch while walking around a southeast Wisconsin lake.

The Janesville Gazette reports that a faith-based youth camp and conference center in Lake Geneva called Conference Point Center hired Creekside Tree Service to trim and remove trees from the property.

Court documents say the tree service cut a branch that fell on 61-year-old Jane Westmas on May 10, 2012, while she was walking along the shoreline path outside the center.

The high court ruled that the tree service doesn't qualify for immunity under the state's recreational immunity statute because it wasn't an agent of the center or an occupier of the property.

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