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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Falling Trees at Bryant Park: What's the First Step?

Earlier this month, a tree branch in Bryant Park snapped and fell, injuring four. One of the people who were injured in the accident, Columbia University graduate student Blythe Duckett, sustained a compound fracture to her arm and one of the witnesses to the accident told reporters "Her arm went limp. You could see the bone sticking out."

After the accident, the Post sent certified arborist Michael Pill to check out Bryant Park's trees. He said that several of the major London plane trees in Bryant Park suffered from crown rot.

Ms. Duckett, in a cast and having undergone surgeries, apparently contacted the trial attorneys at Smiley & Smiley, LLP. They, like other trial attorneys in a similar situation, understood that a claim such as hers needed immediate action. If the tree was diseased and dying, evidence of the tree's condition and evidence of other trees' conditions in the vicinity would be vital to prove her claim against the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Bryant Park Corporation.

They immediately filed suit and asked the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Bryant Parks Corporation to preserve any evidence of the branch collapse and related damage. They can now use the evidence that will be collected for trial, or use the failure to maintain such evidence against the defendants later down the road.

While no two cases are alike, and past results do not guarantee future results, be sure that experienced trial lawyers and litigators who understand the entire process can be helpful from day 1 of a potential claim.


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