Happy Birthday Visit Ends with Lawsuit Between Daughter, Mother

An Illinois woman is suing her Wisconsin parents for negligence, claiming a surprise birthday visit to her mother in January 2005 left the woman with a broken ankle after a fall on her parents’ icy driveway.

A federal judge has refused to throw out the lawsuit, setting up a potential mother-daughter courtroom showdown at a trial scheduled for November.

The daughter, Carriel Louah, 25, is brandishing an apology letter from her mom as the smoking gun in her lawsuit seeking damages for medical bills and lost wages.

In the letter, dated months after the fall, Wendi Reichling wrote that she and her husband “should have fixed that damn (gutter) years ago. We have learned we have to take better care of our sidewalks.”

On Jan. 14, 2005, Louah, of Rockford, Ill. traveled to Darlington, Wis. to surprise her mother on her birthday, which she was celebrating at a local tavern. Louah spent the night at the home of her mother and stepfather.

The next morning she slipped on their driveway, breaking her left ankle and injuring her foot and leg, according to court records.