from the Fifth Judicial District Court for the Parish of
Richland, Louisiana Lower Court Case No. 43436 Honorable
James Mark Stephens, Judge
OFFICES OF MOSES J. WILLIAMS By: Moses Junior Williams
Counsel for Appellant.
HUDSON, POTTS & BERNSTEIN, L.L.P. By: Johnny R. Huckabay,
II By: Robert McCuller Baldwin Counsel for Appellee Town of
COTTON, BOLTON, HOYCHICK & DOUGHTY, L.L.P. By: John
Hoychick Jr. Counsel for Appellees Chad Dee Morgan, Kristie
H. Morgan, and Louisiana Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance
NELSON, ZENTNER, SARTOR & SNELLINGS, LLC By: Thomas G.
Zentner, Jr.Counsel for Appellee Louisiana Farm Bureau
Casualty Insurance Company.
BROWN, PITMAN, and STONE, JJ.
Appellant, Cheryl Wells,  appeals the trial court's judgment
granting the Appellees', Town of Delhi and Chad and
Kristi Morgan, motions for summary judgment. For the
following reasons, we reverse the ruling of the trial court.
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
8, 2012, Cheryl Wells ("Wells") was the front seat
passenger of a vehicle driven by Natasha Hamilton
("Hamilton") during a heavy thunderstorm that
developed without warning. Due to a fallen tree across the
road on which she was traveling, Hamilton was forced to take
an alternate route onto Charter Street. As the vehicle was
traveling on Charter Street, a large limb broke off an oak
tree located at 508 Charter Street ("the
property"). The limb fell onto Hamilton's vehicle,
crushing the roof of the vehicle and striking Wells on the
head. As a result of the accident, Wells was rendered a
quadriplegic. No other passengers in the vehicle sustained
tree involved in the accident was located on the edge of a
property line between the home of Chad and Kristi Morgan
("the Morgans") and the right-of-way and street
owned by the Town of Delhi ("Delhi"). The roots of
the tree protruded underneath the sidewalk and its limbs
protruded over the street. Following the accident, Wells
filed a lawsuit, pursuant to La. C.C. arts. 2315 and 2317.1,
against Delhi and the Morgans (collectively, "the
defendants") alleging her injuries were a result of the
defective and dying tree on the defendants' property.
defendants filed separate motions for summary judgment
asserting Wells could not prove the defendants knew or should
have known that the tree was defective. Additionally, the
defendants asserted the affirmative defense of Act of God,
arguing the limb fell because of the violent storm. The trial
court granted both motions for summary judgment, finding the
following facts undisputed:
1. The tree was located on the property of the Morgans and
protruded onto land under the control of Delhi.
2. The tree in question was, in fact, defective, and was
suffering from ...