Southampton woman sues town, utility over tree limb incident 

Staff Writer 
Published: 9/12/2018 12:16:20 AM

SOUTHAMPTON — A Southampton woman who alleges that her 2-year-old child was injured when a tree branch fell and struck her child in the head has filed a lawsuit against the town and Eversource Energy for failing to clear dead tree limbs on Fomer Road.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Erica Menard on Aug. 7, alleges the town and utility company failed to maintain and keep the roadway safe, which led to her child being hit by a tree limb that fell and penetrated the roof of her Jeep, causing her son to be brought to the hospital for cuts, scrapes and bruises.

The incident is alleged to have occurred on the morning of March 22, 2017, and a letter to the town’s Select Board claims that the family and residents warned town officials of hanging tree limbs prior to the incident.

“In this instance, it is clear that the Town of Southampton and its employees were aware of the unsafe and hazardous condition caused by the dead tree limbs abutting Former Road,” states a letter dated Aug. 24, 2017, from Menard’s attorney, Robert A. DiTusa. “The town of Southampton was on notice of the dangerous condition, but failed to take reasonable action to remedy the condition of Fomer Road. Instead, the Menards were repeatedly advised the town did not have enough funds to remove the dead tree limbs.”

Erica Menard declined to comment on the lawsuit. Town Administrator Ed Gibson also declined to comment, and an Eversource Energy spokeswoman said the company cannot comment on pending litigation.

According to court documents, on March 22, 2017, Menard and her child were driving on Former Road in their family’s 2011 Jeep when a dead tree limb fell from a tree and “penetrated the roof of Menard’s vehicle,” striking her child in the head, who was sitting in the back seat. Police and first responders reported to the incident and Menard brought her son to Baystate Medical Center to treat his injuries. The lawsuit states that Menard’s son “has suffered and continues to suffer impairments to his ability to enjoy life and attend to his usual activities.”

The lawsuit is seeking medical and legal costs and other unspecified damages stemming from the incident.

Luis Fieldman can be reached at lfieldman@gazettenet.com.


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