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Family of woman killed by falling branch files suit

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By Rob Shikina
POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Jul 31, 2009
The property manager of a Kakaako condominium building ignored two warnings that a monkeypod tree needed trimming until a 13-pound branch snapped and killed a 60-year-old tenant in February, a lawyer for the family said.
The victim’s family filed a lawsuit Wednesday against property manager City Properties and the condominium owners association at 1133 Waimanu St. for failing to maintain the tree.
At about 11 a.m. Feb. 26, Setsuko Goshi took a photo with her nephew’s 3-year-old daughter on a walkway leading to the condo’s front entrance. That was when a branch fell 40 feet, hit Goshi on the head and caused minor injures to the girl, said family attorney Wayne Kekina. Goshi died the next day.
The 14-foot branch was pockmarked with wormholes and had been dead at least six months, Kekina said. He claims the accident never would have happened if the tree had been trimmed.
Kekina said Akahi Services, the landscaper, told City Properties in October that the tree’s branches “urgently needed trimming.” It offered to do the work for $325.
In February, Akahi sent a second warning.
City Properties approved a contract to trim the tree 15 minutes after the accident, Kekina said. The tree was trimmed the next day.
Akahi, City Properties and the Association of Apartment Owners did not return calls for comment.
Goshi’s husband Randal, a 61-year-old mail carrier, remains “broken up” over the accident, Kekina said.