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Mother Struck by Falling Central Park Tree to Sue City for $200 Million

By Jackson Chen | September 13, 2017 3:34pm
 The tree that fell and struck Anne Monoky and her children in Central Park last month.
The tree that fell and struck Anne Monoky and her children in Central Park last month.
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Gothamist/Scott Heins

MIDTOWN — A Manhattan mother of three who suffered numerous spine fractures after a tree in Central Park fell on her and her three young children plans to sue the city and the group responsible for the parks trees for a whopping $200 million.

On August 15, Anne Monoky, 39, was walking along West Drive near 59th Street accompanied by her three sons when the tree fell on top of them. Monoky's attorneys, Tom Kline and Jordan Merson, said she suffered a "paralysis-threatening injury" and was hospitalized for a concussion and numerous spinal fractures.

"Every function of life performed by a vibrant mother is replaced by someone else doing the chores, someone else taking care of the baby, someone else making the meals," Kline said during a press conference at his firm's office Wednesday to announce the suit. "She literally needs two people to walk her to the bathroom. She can't be bumped, if she's bumped, that will remove the current stability of her spine potentially."

Monoky, a fashion editor and social media director for Tory Burch, has been left immobilized in a neck brace for three to six months, her attorneys said. Kline noted that her doctors are hoping to have her spine naturally and slowly regenerate before looking into surgical options.

The falling tree hit Monoky with such an impact that it sent her two-month-old baby James out of the chest wrap she was carrying him in, Merson said. Both James and her eldest child, 3-year-old William, were left mostly unharmed, but her 2-year-old son, Grant, suffered a fractured skull and brain hemorrhaging, the lawyer added.

The Central Park Conservancy, the private group responsible for the park's 20,000 trees, stated that the tree that struck Monoky was rotted at the roots. Kline said that fact represented an obvious case of negligence on the part of the Conservancy, as well as the city's. He added that they are unsure if the Conservancy or the city were aware of the tree's condition beforehand, but requested that part of the tree be preserved for the case.

"We are hopeful that the city will recognize they have a very serious problem, enough is enough," Kline said. "If it took Anne Monoky’s case to wake you up finally, then please wake up and please understand that we need to make the park safe."

Both the Conservancy and the Parks Department declined to comment on the pending litigation.

The city's Law Department said it would review the suit after receiving it.