Insurance company blames Entergy for policyholder's house fire

Kelly Holleran Mar. 23, 2011, 9:54am

An insurance company claims it had to pay a couple more than $150,000 after their home burned to the ground, allegedly due to faulty wiring.

Farmers Insurance Exchange filed a lawsuit March 14 in Jefferson County District Court against Entergy Texas.

In its complaint, Farmers claims it had insured Johnna and Wayne Ross' home at 1030 Wagner St. in Port Neches when it caught on fire March 22, 2010.

"Investigation revealed that, prior to the Fire, Entergy had allowed its equipment to deteriorate to the point of an energized line having consistent contact with a neutral line, which resulted in a sustained over voltage to the Ross residence," the suit states.

Entergy knew of the dangers before the fire, and entered the Ross' home in an attempt to repair its equipment, the complaint says. The company's employees turned off all electricity to the home and reenergized the house once they had completed all necessary repairs, Farmers claims.

However, before turning the electricity back on, Entergy employees failed to check lines or circuitry within the house for signs of damage, allowing a fire to begin, according to the complaint.

Farmers alleges negligence and gross negligence against Entergy.

It seeks actual, exemplary and punitive damages, plus pre- and post-judgment interest, costs and other relief the court deems just.

Lesley E. Little of Buck Keenan in Houston will be representing it.

Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court, has been assigned to the case.

Case No. A189-591

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