Another trial against Entergy begins in Jefferson County

David Yates Apr. 21, 2010, 10:00am

For the second time in the month of April, a jury will decide if Entergy's alleged negligence caused electricity to surge through a man's body.

The trial of Thomas Williams vs. Entergy started April 20 in Judge Donald Floyd's 172nd District Court.

Three weeks earlier, a Jefferson County found no negligence on the part of Entergy for allegedly causing Jabari Akins' 2005 electrocution death.

In the current trial, plaintiff Thomas Williams, an electrician by trade, is claiming Entergy negligently failed to switch out a faulty line arrester in one of its substations � a dangerous condition which he alleges led to him being shocked and injured.

Court records show that on May 3, 2005, Williams, a Simco Enterprises employee, was working inside an area substation when a line arrester faulted, "causing dangerously high current to travel through the grid" underneath his feet.

Even while electricity coursed through his body, Williams was able to "jerk himself free, and in doing so further injured his neck," court papers say.

In his suit, Williams says Entergy was "negligent in not changing out the line arresters."

Evidence shows that Williams, a supervisor for Simco Enterprises, and his crew were working on and updating several area substations for Entergy. Some of the substations were required by design to have new line arresters installed while others did not.

On April 21, Williams testified that the design of the substation where the incident occurred did not call for new line arresters. He said other substations he and his crew were working on that day did require new line arresters.

Evidence and testimony show that the Simco crew had finished working on that particular substation and called Entergy to energize the space. Even though the space was charged, Williams returned to the substation to install a receptacle and GFI near the transformer.

Williams testified that he was sitting on the ground installing the equipment when he was shocked.

He also testified that he received Worker's Compensation after the incident.

Entergy claims Williams' injuries were caused by contributory negligence.

Marino is represented by Beaumont attorney Clay Dugas.

Entergy is represented by attorney Paul Scheurich.

Case No. E177-439

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