Back-to-back trials end in favorable verdicts for Entergy

David Yates May 3, 2010, 9:25am

In the month of April, Entergy Gulf States managed to land two favorable verdicts in trials centered on plaintiffs who were shocked and injured.

On the first day of April, a Jefferson County jury found no negligence on the part of Entergy for allegedly causing Jabari Akins' 2005 drowning death.

Akins had come in contact with his neighbor's energized riser pole while attempting to cross over the backyard fence of his Beaumont home. The shock knocked him unconscious, causing him to fall face down in a pool of rain water.

On April 29 a different set of local jurors found that while Entergy did exercise control over the area where plaintiff Thomas Williams was working, the electric company was not responsible for his shock injury.

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

A Simco Enterprises employee, Williams 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.

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.

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 received Worker's Compensation after the incident.

Entergy was represented by attorney Paul Scheurich.

The plaintiff was represented by Clay Dugas & Associates

Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court, presided over the trial.

Case No. E177-439

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