Fallen branch paralyzes woman, suit claims

Steve Gonzalez Apr. 30, 2007, 9:00am

A Granite City woman who became paralyzed when a branch from a Siberian Elm tree fell on her filed a personal injury suit against her landlord in Madison County Circuit Court April 20.

Renee Walker claims that on Dec. 2, 2006, a large branch had partially broke off and fell on the roof of her rental property at 3905 Jill St. in Granite City after an ice-storm struck the metro-east area that caused an accumulation of ice and snow.

Walker claims that prior to the storm she had complained to the landlord, Paul Bryant, that the tree had overgrown and was in an advanced state of decay on the front lawn after neighbors raised concerns about the condition of the tree.

She claims after the tree partially fell, she contacted Bryant who allegedly told her that she should clean up the mess and inspect the roof for damage.

According to Walker, on Dec. 2, 2006, she was cleaning away branches from the front entrance when the branch completely broke away from the tree falling on her, and causing permanent injuries.

Walker claims that Bryant negligently allowed the tree to remain in a state of advanced decay, failed to remove the tree, failed to warn people that the tree was decayed and negligently requested that she and her husband should clean the mess when he knew the tree posed a danger.

She claims she sustained multiple thoracic fractures which has left her paralyzed from the waist down, a right distal radius fracture, a left foot fracture, a fractured pelvis and other disabling injuries that have caused and will continue to cause great pain and suffering, lost wages and medical expenses.

Represented by Jack Cranley of Glen Carbon and Martin Mengarelli of Granite City, Walker is seeking damages in excess of $50,000, plus costs.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Daniel Stack.

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