Woman files lawsuit against HVAC company after she falls through ceiling of her own home

Kyle Barnett Feb. 8, 2012, 5:00pm

Stephen M. Chouest

NEW ORLEANS – A New Orleans woman is suing a company that was giving her a repair estimate at her home claiming she received injuries for following the instructions of one of its employees.

Vannay Buie filed suit on Jan. 17 in the Orleans Parish Civil District Court against Air-it Incorporated and its insurer.

Buie claims she was beginning the process of soliciting bids to repair damage to her home caused by Hurricane Katrina when she received injuries for following the instructions of a potential contractor.

The plaintiff alleges she climbed into her attic with an employee of the defendant who asked her to look at a part of the home's air conditioning unit. Buie asserts that when she began to move around the unit she stepped off the floor decking in the attic and onto unprotected ceiling which she fell through to the floor below and broke her leg. The plaintiff claims the defendants are liable for her injuries because the Air-It employee asked her to look at the unit and that he controlled the flashlight and did not shine it in the hazardous area where there was no flooring. In addition, the plaintiff claims the Air-It employee knew of the hazard but did not warn her of it and that he also failed to take reasonable steps to protect her safety, such as placing temporary flooring over the exposed ceiling.

An unspecified amount in damages is being sought by the plaintiff for additional hotel expenses for not being able to inhabit her home more quickly, wages for someone to oversee contractor work, rental fees for her Texas apartment due to not being able to move her belongings back more quickly, medical expenses, loss of earning capacity, physical and mental pain and suffering, anxiety, upset, distress, depression, loss of enjoyment of life, permanent physical disability and disfigurement, inconvenience and keen mental anguish.

Buie is being represented by Stephen M. Chouest of the Metairie-based Chouest Law Firm.

The case has been assigned to Division H Judge Michael G. Bagneris.

Case number 2012-00482

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