The family of a St. John’s University grad student crushed to death by a tree during Hurricane Sandy, plans to sue the city for negligence over the tree they claim was dangerous.
Tony Laino, 30, was killed when the huge tree crashed through the roof of his family’s home on Oct. 29.
The Laino family and their neighbors had complained to the city for years that the tree was overgrown and unstable, and that it needed to be taken down.
“I called 311. They forwarded me to the right people, and they told me there was nothing they could do about it,” said neighbor Alice Fiore. “Actually when the storm was hitting, I stood at the window watching for it to come down. I actually saw it shifting.”
Civil attorney Rosemarie Arnold, who filed a Notice of Claim on behalf of the family, said the city may argue that what happened was an act of God.
“In order for a situation to be legally considered an act of God, it has to be unforeseeable, and the city would have to show it had no fault in it. They can do neither in this case,” said Arnold.
A city law department spokesperson said attorneys will evaluate the claim. “We recognize that this incident involves a loss of life, which is tragic,” said spokeswoman Liz Thomas.