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Tree [sort of] sues State Farm – Judge goes poetic


Ms. Lowe [cue the villain music] was driving Mr. Moffet’s car (insured by State Farm) when [warning: tree violence] it struck and damaged Mr. Fisher’s “beautiful oak tree.” Naturally, the tree [okay Mr. Fisher] filed suit. Losing at the trial level, the tree appealed. Read on to find out who won.

Syllabus (summary)

A wayward Chevy struck a tree
Whose owner sued defendants three.
He sued car’s owner, driver two,
And insurer for what was due
For his oak tree that now may bear
A lasting need for tender care.

The Oakland County Circuit Court,
John N. O’Brien, J., set forth
The judgment that defendants sought
And quickly an appeal was brought.

Court of Appeals, J.H. Gillis, J.,
Gave thought and then had this to say:
1) There is no liability
Since No-Fault grants immunity;
2) No jurisdiction can be found
Where process service is unsound;
And thus the judgment, as it’s termed,
Is due to be, and is, Affirmed.

Opinion, Before Bronson, P.J., V.J. Brennan, and J.H. Gillis, JJ.

J.H. GILLIS, Judge.

We thought that we would never see
A suit to compensate a tree.

A suit whose claim in tort is prest
Upon a mangled tree’s behest;
A tree whose battered trunk was prest
Against a Chevy’s crumpled crest;

A tree that faces each new day
With bark and limb in disarray;
A tree that may forever bear
A lasting need for tender care.

Flora lovers though we three,
We must uphold the court’s decree.


Fisher v. Lowe, Moffet and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company
Docket No. 60732.
Court of Appeals of Michigan.