Woman hurt by rotting Central Park tree sues

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Anne Monoky spoke publicly Monday for the first time since a 75-foot American elm fell on top of her and her three children and pinned them to the pavement of West Drive in Central Park near 62nd Street.

"The next thing I know I woke up in the ICU and was very confused as to why I was there," Monoky said, adding that she remembers nothing of her time in the park that August morning.

Her two toddlers escaped from the fallen tree with only scrapes and bruises.  Her infant suffered a skull fracture.

She sat with her husband Kurt Goldman and attorneys Thomas Kline and Jordan Merson Monday and announced that they have filed a lawsuit seeking $200 million from the city, the Central Park Conservancy, and various corporations tasked with maintaining the park's trees.

"Trees are structures. Trees are like buildings," Kline said. "They must be maintained."

That argument seems the crux of Monoky's case.

The conservancy told the Daily News the day after the accident that the elm's decaying root structure caused the collapse.

A subsequent investigation and inspection of the tree by Monoky's legal counsel argues it was overwatered, under-maintained, and beaten by snowplows.

"We are very concerned that the adjacent trees are in a similar condition," Kline said.

"I had 10 staples in my head," Monoky said. "I had a broken nose."

She spent the autumn confined first to a hospital bed and then her block unable to lift more than two pounds or any of her young children. More than six months after the incident, doctors still refuse to allow her to return to work. If Monoky is bumped or jostled she risks spending the rest of her life as a complete quadriplegic reliant on a ventilator, her attorneys said.

"I just don't know what I could've done differently," she said.

Fox 5 requested comments from the city and the Central Park Conservancy but has not heard back.

A spokesperson for the city's Law Department told the AP that lawyers will review the lawsuit.