NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Attorneys for the woman who had a tree fall on her and her three children in Central Park last year say they are filing a $200 million lawsuit against New York City, the Central Park Conservancy and others.
“It was 80 degrees and sunny, that’s all I remember,” Anne Monoky told CBS2’s Ali Bauman. Monoky suffered a fractured vertebrae and neck injuries when the tree fell inside the park on West Drive near 62nd Street back on Aug, 15, 2017.
“This is an important lawsuit, we believe, for the citizens of New York City and we believe it has national implications,” attorney Thomas Kline said at a news conference Monday. “This was preventable. This was a tree in decay.”
Her attorneys believe the large amount of $200 million is needed to make a point so the city does more to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.
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“This was a tree that was failing in every way,” attorney Jordan Merson said. “This is a very serious case with very serious injuries.”
Monoky was knocked unconscious and she and her three young sons, including her infant boy who was strapped to her chest, were pinned under branches. A crowd of good Samaritans helped rescue the family.
“I’m so glad I’m in New York City because people take the mentality of we’ll help our neighbors,” she told CBS2.
Speaking out for the first time since the incident, Monoky said in a Monday press conference that “our lives are forever altered.”
“We had a terrifying thing happen,” she said. “I work every day to stay positive for my boys and my husband.”
City parks experts later blamed the incident on a rotting root system hidden under the pavement.
Monoky says recovery has been hard. She was bedridden with a neck brace for months, unable to return to work or breastfeed her newborn.
She’s also constantly at risk of becoming permanently paralyzed.
“Having three boys under the age of four is very physical so that’s been the hardest change,” she said, “having to rely on other people.”
They’ve always loved Central Park — it’s where Monoky and her husband, Curt Goldman, got engaged. She hopes the lawsuit against the city and the Central Park Conservancy will spare anyone else from having to go through what she went through.
Law Department spokeswoman Kimberly Joyce said city lawyers will review the lawsuit.
The conservancy did not immediately respond to a comment request.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)