A woman is suing 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 over the injuries she allegedly suffered when she tripped over one of the wires in the grassy area of the American Memorial Park in Garapan where she and her family had just attended an event in 2018.
Alyssa Jade Nunez, a U.S. citizen, claims that the fall fractured the elbow of her right arm. She is suing the defendants for negligence before the U.S. District Court for the NMI.
Nunez, through counsel David G. Banes, said she had to travel to the Philippines to undergo surgery and later underwent physical therapy.
Nunez asked the court to hold the defendants liable to pay her damages in an amount to be proven at trial.
According to the complaint filed in court Friday, the incident happened in May 2018, when the Marianas Visitors Authority and the Pacific-West Region Division of the National Park jointly organized and hosted the 20th Annual Taste of the Marianas International Food Festival & Beer Garden at the American Memorial Park.
Banes said between the grassy area and the stage of the event, there were wires extending between low cement posts that was about 1 to 2 feet above the ground. Banes said those wires and the low cement posts had been put up by NPS PWR Division long before the event.
The lawyer said all NPS PWR Division 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 is poorly lit in the evening.
Banes said 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.
Banes said that on May 19, 2018, Nunez went to attend the event with her family members. He said 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 allegedly tripped over one of the wires and fell forward. As a result, she fractured her right elbow.
Banes said the range of motion of Nunez’s arm is likely to be permanently reduced as a result of her injuries.
Banes said Nunez provided notice of her claim to the National Park Service regarding her injuries and damages. In her notice, Nunez claimed damages in the amount of $500,000. To date, Banes said, the defendants have not responded to Nunez’s claim.