Watch CBS News

Family Of Man Killed By Fallen Tree Seeks Trial In Suit Against Burlingame Property Owner, Landscapers

BURLINGAME (CBS SF) -- The family of Kahlil Gay, a young physics researcher killed last year by a falling tree at his workplace in Burlingame has asked a judge to set a date for trial in a wrongful death lawsuit against the property owner and other parties that performed landscaping work on the property.

On February 26, 2021, Gay was walking on the grounds of a COVID-19 testing lab where he worked when he was struck by the tree. Gay had just graduated from Cal State East Bay in December.

The lawsuit alleges the lab's property owner, a subsidiary of real estate investment trust Alexandria Real Estate (ARE), allowed the tree to remain in a hazardous condition on its property until it fell on and killed Gay.

Gay's family originally filed the lawsuit in March 2021 and attempts at an alternative dispute resolution involving a mediator were unsuccessful in reaching an agreement. The Gay family is now requesting the court set a trial date.

According to the complaint, during a renovation of the interior and exterior spaces at the 863 Mitten Road facility, a contractor hired to perform landscaping and irrigation renovations cut the roots of the tree in question as well as other trees on the grounds.

An arborist later retained by ARE determined all of the remaining trees in the front courtyard area of 863 Mitten Road were in a hazardous condition because the roots had been "severed…around a full, 360 degree circle at a distance of from two to three and a half."

Within a few months of Gay's death, all the trees deemed hazardous were removed, according to the complaint.

The complaint also indicated the foreman who oversaw the work being performed at the site had multiple felony arrests prior to the incident and is now serving time at Wasco State Prison.

Besides ARE, the other defendants are Arborwell tree services, Gachina Landscape Management, Rockridge Builders and Reed Associates Landscape Architecture. CBS San Francisco has contacted the firms' attorneys to ask for a statement in reaction to the lawsuit.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.