City of Ocala settles two separate lawsuits, agreeing to pay close to $200,000

Settlements of two separate lawsuits were finalized at the Ocala City Council meeting held Tuesday at City Hall.

The payouts added up to nearly $200,000. Council voted 5-0 to move forward with the payments.

Here's what we know about the settlements:

Child hit by falling tree

City documents state in July 2020, a victim identified as P.H. was playing on playground equipment at the Heritage Nature Conservatory, 2005 NE Third St., when a large oak tree fell and hit and injured P.H.

The lawsuit was filed by P.H.'s mother. She alleges the city had "actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous defective condition that led to the tree's collapse."

The case has been going back and forth and city officials said the next step would be a jury trial.

Both sides talked about a settlement and agreed to $100,000. The agreement had to be approved by council.

Raissa Booze of Morgan & Morgan represented the plaintiff.

Cemetery plots

In the second lawsuit, a family purchased four burial plots in Woodlawn Cemetery from the city in the early 1970s, according to city documents. Two family members were buried in two of the four plots.

In 2012, the title of the remaining two plots were transferred to two family members. In late 2021, the family realized that unidentified persons already were buried in the family plots.

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A lawsuit was filed against the city, which now has agreed to pay out $75,050.

Damon M. Baxley of the King Law Firm in Ocala filed the lawsuit on behalf of the plaintiffs.

Contact Austin L. Miller at

This article originally appeared on Ocala Star-Banner: Lawsuit settlements, close to $200,000, approved by Ocala City Council