Posted on July 2, 2010 · Posted in Brain Injury

Central Park in Manhattan is an oasis amid concrete, a place where people go to sunbath or exercise, and families trek for fun. Unfortunately, a recent visit to the park turned out to be tragic for a New Jersey family, and the father is getting ready to sue New York City.

And it wasn’t the first tragedy of this kind.

Last Saturday young mother Karla Del Gallo was posing for a photo with her 6-month-old daughter, Gianna Riccicutti, at the Central Park Zoo when a huge tree branch suddently fell and struck them. The baby flew out her mother’s arms and hit the ground as her father Michael Ricciutti, who was snapping the photo, watched in horror.

The baby was dead on arrival at New York-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center. The mother Del Gallo has had several operatons, but has suffered traumatic brain damage, as well as fractures of the skull and jaw. She remains in intensive care.

On Thursday the husband took the first steps to pave the way for suing the city. Ricciutti filed papers asking the city to keep the deadly tree branch, which fell 25 feet,  locked away as evidence. He also wants the city barred from pruning the tree that the  limb fell from, and asks that the city inspect the tree and produce maintenance records for it for the past 10 years.

Thursday’s filing, a prelude to a negligence suit, names the city, the New York Police Department, the Parks Department, the Central Park Conservatoryand the Wildlife Conservation Society.

New York City Mayor Bloomberg has characterized the accident as an “unavoidable act of God.”

But it’s not the first such “act of God.” Roughly four months ago a man walking through the park was hit by a snow-laden branch and killed.

And a year ago a Google engineer was struck by a 100-pound branch. He is now comatose, and his family is suing the city over his injury.



About the Author

Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice :: 800-992-9447