Carol Ostrow Mar. 30, 2015, 1:19pm


A utility company has sued a power company, alleging property rights violation and breach of duty.

GTE Southwest Inc., doing business as Verizon Southwest, filed a lawsuit March 17 in Galveston County District Court against Texas-New Mexico Power Company and USIC Locating Services, alleging trespassing, negligence and related charges.

The complaint alleges infringement of the 1997 Texas Underground Facility Damage Prevention and Safety Act, passed specifically to protect utility sites from accidental excavation damage. According to the suit, mechanized equipment operated by Texas-New Mexico struck and compromised Verizon Southwest’s underground fiber telecommunications cable facilities while excavating at a site at 200 Splintered Drive in Hitchcock on March 21, 2013.

Citing negligence, GTE Southwest charges the defendants with failure to: keep a proper lookout for buried cables; verify the buried facilities’ location; exercise reasonable care; observe the industry standard tolerance zone at the site; and operate their own equipment safely.

The plaintiff seeks $21,837.06 in compensation for actual, incidental and consequential damages, attorney fees, expenses and costs. Verizon Southwest is represented by attorney David Redford of Houston.

Galveston County District Court case number: 15-CV-0268

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