Electrical sign worker files lawsuit after suffering severe shock

Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau Jul. 30, 2012, 9:11am

An electrical sign worker has filed a lawsuit against a gas station that claims he was severely shocked when gas station workers turned the power back on to a sign that he was actively working to repair.

David L. Stevens filed suit against Pilot Travel Centers on July 24 in the Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont Division.

The incident occurred on Aug. 31, 2010, as Stevens was employed by Gator Sign Co. of McComb, Miss., to do maintenance on the lighting and gas pricing electric signs along the Gulf Coast.

He was working on a sign at Pilot Travel Center located in Orange when he was shocked and fell from a ladder.

According to the lawsuit, the defendant's management told the Gator workers that electrical power to the sign needing work had already been cut off and Gator workers verified that the electricity to the sign was actually off.

The employees set up a ladder in order to reach the area on the sign needing work and Stevens climbed the ladder. Without warning, Pilot employees turned back on the power and re-energized the sign, the suit alleges.

Stevens was shocked, lost consciousness and fell from the ladder to the sign decking. He suffered severe electrical burns and numerous other severe injuries.

The defendant is accused of negligence for failing to use ordinary care to take precautions to protect others when work that is inherently dangerous is performed and for the negligent activity of energizing the work area while workers were making repairs to the signs.

Pilot Travel Centers is also accused of premises liability, negligent misrepresentation and negligent activity.

The plaintiff is seeking damages for physical pain, mental anguish, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, disfigurement, physical impairment, medical expenses, loss of earning capacity, interest and court costs.

Stevens is represented by Kenneth W. Lewis and Stephen L. Townsend of Bush Lewis in Beaumont and Darryl Gibbs of Chhabra & Gibbs P.A. in Jackson, Miss.

A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Marcia A. Crone is assigned to the case.

Case No. 1:12-cv-00369

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