WRONGFUL DEATH SUIT FILED REGARDING FOURTH OF JULY ELECTROCUTION

By Sheff Law on August 16, 2013

dock.jpgA lawsuit has been filed regarding a 2012 Fourth of July electrocution that left two children dead. The mother of the two victims, Angela Anderson, is suing the utility company that owns Lake of the Ozarks, where the accident took place.

This wrongful death suit alleges that Union Electric Co. did not notify lake dock owners about the risk of shocks if short circuits occur. Anderson claims they were never informed that it would be necessary to install ground fault interrupters, which are electrical protection devises, where the dock meets the seawall.

In the accident, Alexandra Anderson (13 years old) and her brother Brayden Alexander (8 years old) died while they were swimming at their family's lake house. Angela Anderson is being represented by five attorneys. One of her attorneys, Bogdan Susan, declined to comment on the case and also would not make Anderson available for an interview.

The utility, which operates as Ameren Missouri, is being represented by attorneys in St. Louis and Jefferson City. Questions were directed to Trina Muniz, the company's spokeswoman; however, she also declined any comment regarding the case. In court, Ameren presented a motion aiming to dismiss the case, because of immunity under state law. The motion will be considered in a hearing on September 12.

If a new dock is built, owners need to pass a safety inspection. The inspection, done by a local fire district, will allow lake property owners to obtain a construction permit from Ameren. No inspection is required if docks are not moved or modified. Since this requirement was put into effect in 2006, there are countless docks that were built decades ago that will not undergo a safety inspection. Safety codes were changed in 2006 for Lake of the Ozarks after Tyler Deeds (22 years old) was fatally shocked by a dock cable while he was remodeling a house.

Ameren was found liable in a 2009 suit in Jefferson County after one teenager died and three others were left injured when they were swimming in Spring Lake in 2006. Even though the company found fault with the dock siring, the civil jury agreed upon a $2.3 million settlement to the victims' families.

The current lawsuit brought against Ameren claims the utility helped to increase the dangers by approving a marina and waterfront restaurant, Coconuts at the Lake. The case says that the Anderson dock, as well as others, suffered greater "wear, tear and stress," due to the influx of boat traffic.

After the tragic death of the Anderson children, a Hazelwood woman (26 years old) also suffered a fatal electrocution, similar yet unrelated to the previous accident. The same summer, a 10 year old boy died at a marina on Cherokee Lake in Tennessee due to electric shock drowning (ESD). A study conducted by Kevin Ritz, an expert on ESD, discovered that 26 percent of freshwater boats he examined in Portland, Oregon were leaking lethal doses of electricity into the water.

The utility, which operates as Ameren Missouri, is being represented by attorneys in St. Louis and Jefferson City. Questions were directed to Trina Muniz, the company's spokeswoman; however, she also declined any comment regarding the case. In court, Ameren presented a motion aiming to dismiss the case, because of immunity under state law. The motion will be considered in a hearing on September 12.

If a new dock is built, owners need to pass a safety inspection. The inspection, done by a local fire district, will allow lake property owners to obtain a construction permit from Ameren. No inspection is required if docks are not moved or modified. Since this requirement was put into effect in 2006, there are countless docks that were built decades ago that will not undergo a safety inspection. Safety codes were changed in 2006 for Lake of the Ozarks after Tyler Deeds (22 years old) was fatally shocked by a dock cable while he was remodeling a house.

Ameren was found liable in a 2009 suit in Jefferson County after one teenager died and three others were left injured when they were swimming in Spring Lake in 2006. Even though the company found fault with the dock siring, the civil jury agreed upon a $2.3 million settlement to the victims' families.

The current lawsuit brought against Ameren claims the utility helped to increase the dangers by approving a marina and waterfront restaurant, Coconuts at the Lake. The case says that the Anderson dock, as well as others, suffered greater "wear, tear and stress," due to the influx of boat traffic.

After the tragic death of the Anderson children, a Hazelwood woman (26 years old) also suffered a fatal electrocution, similar yet unrelated to the previous accident. The same summer, a 10 year old boy died at a marina on Cherokee Lake in Tennessee due to electric shock drowning (ESD). A study conducted by Kevin Ritz, an expert on ESD, discovered that 26 percent of freshwater boats he examined in Portland, Oregon were leaking lethal doses of electricity into the water.

http://www.boatus.com/seaworthy/magazine/2012/october/Raising-Awareness-About-Electric-Shock-Drowning.asp

The Energy Education Council has initiated a Safe Electricity program, encouraging prevention with their slogan, "Prevent deadly shocks. Check your boats and docks."

http://www.safeelectricity.org/component/content/article/314-boating-safety/1266-prevent-deadly-shockscheck-your-boats-and-docks

There are safety measures that can be taken to avoid injury or death at the hands of ESD. You should never swim in or around marinas, docks, or boatyards. Talk to marina operators and owners about any safety precautions that are in place. Additional steps can probably be taken, such as installing GFCI's on wiring circuits and shore power pedestals.

http://www.martinvincentlaw.com/index.php/component/content/article/article%2059-esd

The Energy Education Council has initiated a Safe Electricity program, encouraging prevention with their slogan, "Prevent deadly shocks. Check your boats and docks."

There are safety measures that can be taken to avoid injury or death at the hands of ESD. You should never swim in or around marinas, docks, or boatyards. Talk to marina operators and owners about any safety precautions that are in place. Additional steps can probably be taken, such as installing GFCI's on wiring circuits and shore power pedestals.