City Moves to Bolster Argument in the Case of Child Injured by Falling Tree Branch

A hearing in the lawsuit is scheduled for next week, March 6

Published : Tuesday, February 26, 2019 | 6:19 AM

At left, a Pasadena Fire Dept. paramedic tends to 2-year-old Adelaide Palmstrom on Aug. 29, 2017 after she was struck by a falling tree branch as seen in police body worn camera footage. At right, Adelaide in hospital with her mother. Photos courtesy Panish Shea & Boyle LLP

Legal skirmishing in the lawsuit of a preschooler injured by a fallen tree branch at Linda Vista Children’s Center has heated up with the City seeking to amend its defense and the little girl’s legal counsel accusing it of delaying the proceedings by doing so.

Adelaide Palmstrom was severely injured on Aug. 29, 2017, when a branch from a tree in the adjacent City park struck her after it fell from above while she played at the children’s center, severely injuring her.

According to her attorneys, these injuries included: traumatic brain injury; fractured skull (with subdural hematoma) vertebral and left tibia fractures, torn cervical spine ligament, and a lower left leg injury.

Two days following the incident, the City reportedly posted notices and removed trees from the City property adjacent to the Linda Vista Children’s Center, including the tree which caused Adelaide’s injuries.

Her family’s claim for damages from the City was rejected and a subsequent lawsuit filed. The City responded to the complaint on April 6, 2018.

More recently, on Feb. 6, Pasadena’s city attorney asked the state Superior Court to allow an amended restatement of its argument, citing new facts turned up during case discovery.

The Palmstrom family’s legal counsel, Panish, Shea and Boyle filed a Feb. 25 response asking the court to deny the City’s request to amend.

“If this was not so offensive, it would be laughable,” the cross motion stated.

With its filing, Palmstrom’s attorneys said, “the City wishes to assert new affirmative defenses that it was not on notice of these conditions [at the park] and amend its answer that was filed in April 2018.”

To its cross motion, the Palmstrom legal team attached emails from city officials, residents and concerned parents, prior to the accident, regarding the potential for danger from tree branches in the very spot where Adelaide Palmstrom was felled.

Adelaide Palmstrom was two years old at the time of the occurrence. She was taken to the hospital in critical condition. Two other children were also hospitalized.

The unfortunate incident with Adelaide Palmstrom was not an isolated one. Pasadena is blessed with a lot of trees and a history of perilous interactions with them.

In July 2015, a pine tree fell on eight children at Brookside Park, outside Kidspace Museum. Two of the children were classified as critically injured at the time. The case resulted in a lawsuit against the City by two of the injured children which was settled with a financial payout to the victims.

Plaintiffs in that case were represented by the same law firm representing Adelaide Palmstrom.

A local mother later recounted how, three months prior to the Kidspace accident, her 7-year old had been hit by a falling branch in much the same location.

City of Pasadena spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said the city attorney does not typically comment on active litigation.

blog comments powered by Disqus