After a rear-end collision involving one of its employees, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is facing a federal lawsuit that accuses it of allowing an untrained and careless driver to operate a vehicle.

Lucille K. Lailhengue filed suit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency, External Affairs Department on Feb. 23 in federal court in New Orleans.

The accident occurred on July 29, 2009 as Lailhengue was operating a 2007 Lincoln Towncar on LaSalle Street in New Orleans. Lailhengue states she suffered serious injuries when a FEMA employee rear-ended her car.

The defendant is accused of negligence for not having her car under proper control, not maintaining proper lookout, driving in a careless and reckless manner, crashing into Lailhengue's car, failing to exercise due care, failing to slow for traffic, failing to yield and for following too closely.

Further, FEMA is accused of allowing its vehicle to be operated by an untrained, unskilled and careless driver and for failing to instruct the driver in the proper operation of the motor vehicle.

Lailhengue is seeking damages for medical expenses, physical pain and suffering, loss of function, mental anguish, emotional distress, lost wages, diminished earning capacity, special care and services, loss of enjoyment of life, permanent partial disability, interest and court costs.

The plaintiff is represented by Metairie attorneys Jeffrey S. Berkowitz and James A. Hatch.

U.S. District Judge Martin L. C. Feldman is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:11-cv-00448

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