Ludovic Michaud, the husband of late human rights activist Esther Nakajjigo, has filed a $270 million wrongful death administrative claim against the National Park Service, according to a report by NBC News, following a June accident at Arches National Park near Moab.
The administrative claim is a legally required precursor to a lawsuit, which is expected to be filed in about six months.
According to the claim, Michaud, of Denver, and Nakajjigo, a women’s rights proponent from Uganda, were exiting the Arches parking lot on June 13 when a metal gate on the entrance road near the visitors’ center swung into the couple’s car, causing Nakajigo to be “needlessly decapitated.”
According to NBC, the claim was served Oct. 22, and alleges “that if park employees had properly installed the gate to not swing into oncoming traffic or placed an $8 padlock on the gate to secure it from moving in the breeze, the world would not have lost ‘a young woman influencer destined to become our society’s future Princess Diana, Philanthropist Melinda Gates, or Oprah Winfrey.’”
Nakajjigo had been celebrated for using money earmarked for her college tuition to instead open a nonprofit community health center in Uganda at age 17. She was subsequently named Uganda’s ambassador for women and girls. She later created a pair of reality television shows designed to empower women.
NBC wrote that Nakajjigo “had come to the United States to further her education, participating in programs at Drexel University in Philadelphia as a Mandela Washington Fellow and at the Watson Institute in Boulder, Colo., where she was the recipient of a Luff Peace Fellowship.”
Michaud, originally of France, was uninjured in the accident, but, according to NBC’s report, “has since been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.”