US government denies allegations in American Memorial Park lawsuit

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THE federal government has denied the allegations of Alyssa Jade Nunez who has sued 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 for negligence.

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

Nunez said the fall fractured the elbow of her right arm and she wants the District Court for the NMI to hold the defendants liable to pay her damages in an amount to be proven at trial.

In answer to the complaint, the park, represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mikel W. Schwab said the

defendants “admit that [the National Park Service or] NPS did not remove the cables in-between the low cement posts located on the grass between Micro Beach Road and the stage for the event. [The] defendants [also] admit that NPS did not put up any warning signs in the immediate vicinity of those cables, ward off the entire area adjacent to those cables, install any temporary lighting in the immediate vicinity of those cables, or place an employee in the vicinity of those cables.”

But the defendants deny the remaining allegations, Schwab said.

Represented by attorney David Banes, Nunez 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 American Memorial Park.

She said between the grassy area and the stage of the event, 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 and the Pacific-West Region Division long before the event, the complaint also stated.

Nunez said NPS and 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.

On May 19, 2018, Nunez 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, she added, she fractured her right elbow.

Her lawyer said the range of motion of Nunez’s arm is likely to be permanently reduced as a result of her injuries.

Banes added that Nunez had to travel to the Philippines to undergo surgery and later underwent physical therapy.

Nunez is claiming damages in the amount of $500,000.

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