The woman who was critically injured when a massive tree fell on her and her children in Central Park last month is "completely immobilized," according to her attorneys, who are planning a $200 million lawsuit against the city. Lawyer Jordan Merson said that Anne Monoky Goldman is "not allowed to move her neck for at least two to three months — that is a form of torture. She can’t pick up her baby, she can’t breast-feed, she can’t do her job."
Monoky Goldman had been in the park with her month-old baby son strapped into a carrier on her chest, two-year-old son and four-year-old son on August 15 when a 75-foot-tall tree near near 61st Street and Central Park South suddenly fell. A witness said, "The tree fell, she never saw it coming and it landed right on top of her and her kids. It was giant, it was across all of them, we were able to pull the branches back and get the [kids] out pretty easily but then the baby was strapped to her so that took a little bit. They had the stroller tipped up against her so I think that kind of saved them."
The Central Park Conservancy said that the tree had decay in the root system, with a spokesperson explaining, "The tree had been inspected annually over the last six years, most recently in November 2016, and there were no visible signs of decay or disease. The Conservancy employs tree crews seven days a week who regularly inspect and maintain Central Park’s nearly 20,000 trees according to industry standards."
In 2009, a 33-year-old man was paralyzed by a 100-pound tree branch struck him on West Drive. The next year, a 58-year-old man was killed by a falling branch near 68th Street and East Drive; a few months later, three people were injured by a falling branch near 74th Street and East Drive and a six-month-old baby was killed when a branch struck her and her mother near the Central Park Zoo. The NYC Parks Department says 31 people have been struck by falling branches or trees between 2011 and 2015.
Where the tree once stood, August 21, 2017 (Jen Chung / Gothamist)
Attorneys for Monoky Goldman and her family are going to file a notice of claim, indicating their intention to sue the city for $200 million. They note that Goldman had been on maternity leave from her position as a social media director at Tory Burch.
Merson said, "The way Ms. Monoky laid out to protect her children, it was heroic and she truly took the brunt of the force of the tree... She has complete memory loss from the time of the accident."