Council Could Agree to Settle Suit in Case of City Tree Which Collapsed and Injured 8 Children, 2 Critically

Published : Sunday, April 28, 2019 | 7:45 PM

Pasadena Fire Department paramedics treat a young victim at the scene of the tree collapse in the Arroyo outside the Kidspace Children's Museum on July 28, 2015. Photo: Jamie Nicholson, Pasadena Fire Department

In a closed session meeting on Monday the Pasadena City Council will discuss a settlement agreement stemming from a lawsuit filed by the mother of twin boys who suffered grave injuries after a 75-foot tree fell on them without warning at Kidspace Museum in the Arroyo Seco.

The lawsuit alleges that Brandon Li suffered fractures to an arm and a leg. His brother Bryan received a head injury when the tree fell at about 4:30 p.m. on July 28, 2015. According to the lawsuit both children also experienced psychological injuries after the incident.

No information on the settlement amount was revealed in court documents.

The two Li boys and other children had attended a day camp at Kidspace and were waiting to be picked up by parents when the tree fell. Horrified onlookers rushed to their aid and began digging through the debris to find the kids.

In total eight children were hurt, two critically.

First responders used chainsaws to clear out heavy limbs fearing that children were trapped underneath the massive tree.

The complaint filed by Li’s mother Yvonne Yeung names the City of Pasadena, Kidspace Museum and George Salinas Tree Preservation in the suit.

Yeung claimed City and museum officials knew of the dangerous condition of the tree but did not take steps to prevent its falling. She alleged no barriers were in place to help protect people in case of such a fall.

An arborist later wrote in a seven-page report there were several factors that may have led to the tree falling, including prevailing drought conditions and increased weight due to water intake after a heavy rain season at the time.

Mayor Terry Tornek could reveal the disposition of the settlement at the beginning of Monday night’s City Council public session if an agreement is reached.

Trimmers were sent into the area soon after the event to trim trees. George Salinas owner of George Salinas Tree Preservation said at that time, that Brookside Park had not been serviced in five years.

Earlier this month in a second but unrelated lawsuit, a lawyer representing a 4-year old girl who suffered traumatic injury when the branch of a tree on City property fell on her claimed the City had destroyed evidence crucial to that case.

Adelaide Palmstrom was playing at Linda Vista Children Center on Aug. 29, 2017 when the branch fell on her. Her 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, according to court documents.

Attorneys with the firm Panish, Shea and Boyle have filed a motion asking the court to sanction the City of Pasadena and the Pasadena Unified School District for disposing of the branch which fell on Palmstrom, describing the disposal as the “willful destruction and spoliation of the most critical item of evidence in this litigation, ie, the subject tree and tree branch that failed and collapsed on two-year-old Adelaide Palmstrom causing her catastrophic injuries.”

Public advocates rarely make comments relative to ongoing litigation.

Pasadena Now has not received comments from earlier requests to the City of Pasadena relative to either case.

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