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Pittsburgh OKs $375K in falling tree injury in Schenley Park

Bob Bauder
| Thursday, July 25, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Pittsburgh City Council gave preliminary approval Wednesday to settle a lawsuit for $375,000 with a woman who said she was badly injured when a tree fell on her as she was jogging in Schenley Park.

Heidi Spangler, 29, of Greenfield suffered multiple spinal and rib fractures and a collapsed lung when the tree fell at the Schenley Oval track on June 16, 2010, according to the lawsuit.

She said the injuries left her with permanent spinal nerve damage and the loss of bladder and bowel functions.

Spangler, a dental hygienist, sued the city, Duquesne Light, Lewis Tree Service Inc. of Henrietta, N.Y., and Costa Contracting Inc. of Cheswick, claiming they were responsible for a large rotten tree that grew near the track. The others have settled, although details were unavailable, according to court documents.

Spangler sought more than $2.6 million for medical expenses, loss of earning power and compensatory damages. She could not be reached.

“Considering what happened, we think it was a proper resolution to the matter,” Pittsburgh solicitor Daniel Regan said, adding that he would not comment further until after council's final vote scheduled for next week.

Duquesne Light spokesman Joey Vallarian declined to comment, as did Downtown attorney Doug Stipanovich, who represented the tree service. Stipanovich cited a confidentiality agreement. Neither Costa construction nor its attorney returned messages.

Spangler's attorney Edward J. Balzarini also declined to comment, citing the confidentiality agreement.

Bob Bauder is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-765-2312 or bbauder@tribweb.com.

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