Carol Ostrow Jul. 14, 2015, 1:29pm


A Louisiana woman is suing a federal government agency, alleging negligence in a highway accident she says was caused by a felled tree blocking the roadway.

Brittany Vanesselberg filed a lawsuit June 25 against the U.S. Department of Agriculture and/or the U.S. Forest Service in U.S. District Court of the Western District of Louisiana June 22, alleging negligence.

According to the complaint, on Jan. 15, 2012, Vanesselberg was driving a 2009 Pontiac G6 westbound on state Highway 3130 in Grant Parish when her vehicle crashed into a pine tree that had fallen across the road and led to her sustaining injuries. The suit says the defendants were administering a control burn in the area, acting through an employee or agent, and the control burn caused the pine tree to fall, creating an unreasonable risk of harm to the plaintiff and other motorists.

The lawsuit states the defendants were aware of the fallen tree prior to the plaintiff's accident but took no remedial action. The plaintiff alleges the accident was caused by negligence, and faults the defendants for failure to remove the tree, warn the public and place barricades, guards or warnings nearby.

She alleges pain and suffering, shock, emotional disorder, loss of enjoyment of life, disruption of family life, loss of past and future earnings, medical expenses and property damage. The plaintiff says her counsel notified defendants Jan. 15, 2012, and filed an amended claim Dec. 26, 2012, but no action was taken.

Vanesselberg seeks damages along with interest, attorney fees, expenses and court costs. She is represented by attorneys Emily Meche, Brian Caubarreaux, Jeff Easley and Robert Marionneaux of Brian Caubarreaux and Associates in Marksville.

U.S. District Court of the Western District of Louisiana case number 1:15-cv-01958.

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