Woman, child sue CUC, DPW over cut tree that fell on top of car


A woman has filed a lawsuit in Superior Court against the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. and the Department of Public Works to recover for injuries and damages sustained when a cut tree fell directly on top of a vehicle she was driving on Kagman Road last year.

Patricia Aldan and on behalf of her then 5-year-old child are suing CUC and DPW for negligence. Diego Cabrera, owner of the damaged vehicle, 2005 Kia Spectra, also joined as co-plaintiff in the lawsuit.

The plaintiffs, through counsel Mark A. Scoggins, asked the court to hold CUC and DPW liable to pay them damages in an amount to be proven at trial.

According to Scoggins, his clients submitted their claims to the Office of the Attorney General, but more than 90 days have elapsed and that they have not received any response.

Scoggins stated in the complaint that, shortly before 11am on Feb. 4, 2013, Aldan was driving the vehicle with her minor child as her passenger on Kagman Road.

At the same time, Scoggins said the government was cutting down trees near the road, but employed no or insufficient personnel, and erected no barriers or signs to direct traffic.

As Aldan approached the area near where the trees were being cut, she slowed down and proceeded with caution.

Scoggins said just as Aldan’s vehicle reached the area, she heard shouting and saw a tree falling toward her car.

Aldan slammed on the brakes, but could not avoid the falling tree. The tree fell directly on top of the car.

Scoggins said the vehicle was a total loss and that Aldan suffered physical injuries.

The lawyer said Aldan and her child suffered emotional distress.

Scoggins said the Commonwealth was negligent and did not exercise due care in cutting trees and by directing traffic away from the tree work.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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