Jurors begin deliberations in Entergy trial

David Yates Apr. 29, 2010, 2:00am

A Jefferson County jury has begun their deliberations on whether Entergy is responsible for alleged injuries an electrician received when he was shocked.

Thomas Williams sued Entergy in 2006, claiming the electric provider negligently failed to switch out a faulty line arrester in one of its substations.

His trial began April 20. Jurors started deliberating at around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 28.

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

Evidence offered by Entergy shows that the company believes Williams was exposed to 9 volts of electricity.

When the electricity started coursing through his body, Williams was able to "jerk himself free, and in doing so further injured his neck," court papers say.

Plaintiff's attorney Michael Jacobellis said "no on-site engineer" would testify that Williams was hit with only 9 volts.

Williams and his attorneys claim 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.

Entergy is represented by attorney Paul Scheurich.

Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court, is presiding over the litigation.

Case No. E177-439

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