When you think of New York City, capitol of the universe, you probably think of such things as skyscrapers, crowds, hot dogs and the Yankees. But what you probably don’t think of is trees. Yet it is trees that are causing an increasing number of legal headaches for the Big Apple. NYC has approximately 2.5 million trees in the City’s parks and streets and there are plans to plant 1 million more over the next few years. The problem is that, as a result of poor training and a lack of budget funds, the trees are not being properly monitored for damage/disease or other problems. Thus, over the last 5 years, 49 people have been injured and 2 people have been killed by falling trees. Certainly, these are not enormous numbers, but when the NYT runs a front page essay on the problem (and cites trial and deposition testimony) you can bet that the plaintiffs bar is paying attention. You can also surely bet that the Mayor’s office is paying attention – might a change to tree responsibility be around the corner (similar to the sidewalk liability changes of 2003)? Stay tuned to find out.
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