Woman claims low wires caused husband's electrocution, sues Entergy for wrongful death

Marilyn Tennissen Nov. 27, 2007, 8:57am

On June 9, 2007, Kevin Lee Presley was performing repairs on a dump truck owned by his employer Jackey Derryberry of Fairway Construction at the NAPA Auto Parts Store in Montgomery.

The bed of the truck came into contact with a high voltage electric line owned and controlled by Entergy. Presley died from electrocution.

On behalf of Presley's estate and individually, his widow Tammy Presley filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Gulf States Utilities Co. and Entergy Gulf States Inc. in Jefferson County District Court on Nov. 19.

Although events occurred in Montgomery County and the plaintiff is a Montgomery County resident, the suit says the venue is proper in Jefferson County because the defendants' principal office is in Beaumont.

The plaintiff alleges that Presley's death was caused by negligence on the part of the utility company.

Negligent acts named in the original complaint include:

  • Failing to maintain the power line at sufficient height so as not to pose a danger to people on the ground and patrons of NAPA Auto Parts;

  • Failing to respond to prior complaints from premises owners regarding the need to raise the power lines for the safety of store customers;

  • Failing to implement or follow policies and procedures for responding to requests to raise power lines based on activities of landowner and/or tenants;

  • Failing to maintain power lines in accordance with federal and state guidelines and industry standards and customs;

  • Failing to warn Kevin Lee Presley of the dangerous condition the power lines posed to customers engaged in expected activities at an auto parts store;

  • Failing to take reasonable precautions to correct the dangerous condition;

  • Failing to perform reasonable inspections of the power lines; and

  • Violating the provisions of the Electric National Safety Code.

    Tammy Presley seeks to recover funeral and burial expenses; future medical, psychological or psychiatric bills and expenses; past and future mental anguish; loss of consortium and companionship; loss of inheritance; loss of household services; the physical pain and suffering and mental anguish experienced by Kevin Presley prior to his death; physical impairment prior to his death and other damages that may result from discovery performed in the suit.

    The suit also alleges that the defendants' acts and omissions constituted gross negligence and malice.

    ".. Defendants had actual subjective awareness of the risk involved, but nevertheless proceeded with conscious indifference to the rights, safety or welfare of plaintiff," the complaint states. "Defendants are liable, therefore, for punitive damages."

    The principal defendants are also liable for punitive damages for the acts of their agents and employees.

    The plaintiff is also asking for recovery of interest, attorney fees, court costs and other relief as the court deems proper.

    Sandee Hart of Orange and Mark Haas of Conroe are representing the plaintiff.

    The case has been assigned to Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd Judicial District.

    Case No. E180-784

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