Reported by: Manolo Morales
Email: [email protected]
A California couple is suing the international marketplace for the injuries they suffered from a fallen tree branch.
Their lawyer says the land owner could have prevented the incident with proper tree maintenance.
It happened on a windy day in February 2012.
Russell and Beverly Narahara were waiting for family members at the International Marketplace in Waikiki.
An eight foot branch broke off a large banyan tree and landed on the couple.
“Russell suffered multiple fractures to his right hip and Beverly sustained a skull fracture and a large laceration to the top of her head,” said Wayne Kekina, attorney.
Kekina says the branch fell about 80 feet and it could have been prevented if the land owner, Queen Emma Land Company, did regular maintenance on the tree.
“Queen Emma Land Company needlessly endangered the safety of the public by failing to exercise reasonable care in monitoring and maintaining this banyan tree,” said Kekina.
Kekina says records indicate that the tree has not been maintained since 2010 and that an expert arborist recommends that a tree that size and hovering over lots of people should have been inspected more frequently.
“Our expert indicated that the branch should have been removed in 2010 and that Queen Emma Land Company had more than an ample opportunity to remove the dead tree branch between 2010 and 2012,” said Kekina.
The Naraharas are in their 70’s and were here with their children and grandchildren. Kekina says to this day, four months after it happened, Russell is still being treated at a nursing facility in California. While Beverly commutes everyday to visit him as she recovers from her injuries.
“It’s pretty traumatic for the golden years of their lives to spend time together with their grandchildren and enjoy their times together and now he’s permanently hospitalized,” said Kekina.
A spokesman for the Queen Emma Land Company says it will not comment on pending litigation.