Our client, a 28-year-old school teacher was walking with her 52-year-old mother on a street in Brooklyn on a rainy, windy day when the mother was suddenly struck by the falling limb of a city-owned tree. The woman suffered a head injury resulting in her death and the daughter, who was at her side at the time of the accident suffered severe emotional distress and post-traumatic stress disorder. According to the expert pathologist, the woman suffered eight-ten seconds of pain and suffering before she became unconscious and died. We claimed that the City of New York had actual and constructive notice of the tree’s propensity to fail in the event of high winds, based on the city inspectors’ eight visits to the subject premises over a period of two years and four months prior to the date of the incident. Our forestry expert, claimed that the tree had many external clues that suggested dead and decaying limbs, which constituted a living tree hazard and that the city neglected to properly maintain the tree. The jury found the City of New York liable for the tree’s failure and determined plaintiffs’ damages in the amount of $2,950,000 for loss of parental guidance, future loss of parental guidance, past and future emotional distress and conscious pain and suffering due to the wrongful death of the mother.
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