A woman whose two legs were broken when a Honolulu-owned tree fell on the bus shelter she was sitting under will receive a $1,950,000 payout from the city.
The Honolulu City Council voted on Wednesday to approve the settlement with Jovielle Mae Calma.
Calma filed a federal lawsuit after a large, yellow Poinciana tree near Ala Moana Center was “uplifted” during a storm and crashed onto a nearby bus shelter in October 2017. The shelter’s concrete columns collapsed and broke Calma’s legs, according to her lawsuit complaint.
Calma suffers “significant and permanent bodily injuries, as well as serious mental anguish and emotional distress,” according to her lawsuit. Her attorneys argued that the city knew or should have known that Poinciana trees are “susceptible to uprooting during strong winds” and did not take steps to ensure the city bus shelter was safe.
In an answer filed in U.S. District Court, the city denied it was at fault and argued that the incident was “an act of God,” among other defenses.
“This case was mediated pursuant to a recommendation by the Court,” Brandi Higa, a spokeswoman for the mayor’s office, said in an email. “As a result of the mediation process, the Department of the Corporation Counsel recommended the settlement amount because of the severity of the injuries suffered by the Plaintiff.”
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