Woman sues US government over injuries she suffered at federal park

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ALYSSA Jade Nunez has filed a lawsuit in federal court against the U.S. government, the U.S. Department of the Interior, the National Park Service, and the Pacific-West Region of the National Park Service.

Nunez said she suffered injuries when she tripped over one of the wires in the grassy area of American Memorial Park in Garapan where she and her family attended a community event in 2018.

Nunez, who is represented by attorney David Banes, said the fall fractured the elbow of her right arm and she is asking the District Court for the NMI to hold the defendants liable to pay her damages in an amount to be proven at trial.

The lawsuit stated that the incident happened in May 2018, when the Marianas Visitors Authority and the Pacific-West Region Division of the National Park Service jointly organized and hosted the 20th Annual Taste of the Marianas International Food Festival & Beer Garden at the park.

According to the lawsuit, between the grassy area and the stage, there were wires extending between low cement posts that were about 1 to 2 feet above the ground.

Those wires and the low cement posts had been put up by the National Park Service-Pacific-West Region Division or NPS-PWR long before the event, the lawsuit stated.

It added that all NPS-PWR employees knew or should have known that those wires presented a significant tripping hazard to park visitors, especially when it was dark because the grassy area was poorly lit in the evening.

The lawsuit stated that there were no signs to warn people of the tripping hazard created by the wires, or ward off the entire surrounding area to prevent people from walking across where the wires were.

On May 19, 2018, Nunez said she went to attend the event with her family members. Nunez and her family arrived at the park and parked their car in the grassy area between the back of the stage and the northern boundary of Coral Tree Avenue.

After attending the event, Nunez and her family members walked toward the grassy area to get back to their vehicle. While walking, Nunez said she tripped over one of the wires and fell forward.

As a result, her lawsuit stated, she fractured her right elbow.

The range of motion of Nunez’s arm is likely to be permanently reduced as a result of her injuries, the lawsuit added.

Nunez had to travel to the Philippines to undergo surgery and later underwent physical therapy, her lawyer said.

Nunez provided notice of her claim to the National Park Service regarding her injuries and claimed damages in the amount of $500,000.

Banes said the defendants have not responded to Nunez’s claim to date.

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