Woman Sues SeaWorld for Falling Branch

In Orlando, Florida, a woman has initiated legal proceedings against SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, alleging that she suffered a concussion and other permanent injuries when a palm tree branch fell on her during a wedding at Discovery Cove. The lawsuit, filed in Orange County and reported by FOX 35, states that Donna Montesanti was attending the wedding as a business invitee on November 17.

Montesanti was at the park as a business invitee. While preparing to make a toast, she moved a short distance away and heard a “crack” as a substantial branch detached from a palm tree approximately 50 feet above her. The falling palm tree branch struck Montesanti on her head, neck, and shoulders, causing the concussion and other lasting damages, according to the lawsuit.

The legal complaint points out that in Florida, it is well-recognized that royal palm trees require regular maintenance and trimming to prevent hazardous shedding of branches onto individuals below. SeaWorld is accused of “negligently failing to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition.”

Montesanti and her attorney, Richard Russo of Morgan & Morgan, contend that Discovery Cove and SeaWorld Parks neglected to adequately maintain their premises and failed to provide warnings about known or foreseeable dangerous conditions. The lawsuit was filed this week and also claims that SeaWorld failed to ensure an employee was supervised in a coffee drive-thru and that the coffee was prepared and served at industry standards to prevent extreme burns to customers.

As a consequence of the incident, Montesanti claims to have endured “severe and permanent bodily injuries,” physical and mental distress, disability, physical impairment, disfigurement, inconvenience, and other ongoing consequences. Montesanti also had a concussion and other injuries as a result of the branch hitting her, the lawsuit alleged. She is seeking a minimum of $50,000 in damages and a trial by jury.

According to the Discovery Cove website, the park offers wedding packages that include picturesque settings like rocky lagoons, lush landscapes, coral reefs, waterfalls, sandy beaches, and various animal interactions. Additionally, guests can explore a lush nature trail upon arrival.