BEAUMONT – In July, the Ninth Court Appeals granted a motion to stay a wrongful death lawsuit brought against Entergy Arkansas while justices examined a special appearance issue in the case.

Court records show justices, at Entergy Arkansas’ request, dismissed the appeal on Sept. 22.

“The motion is voluntarily made by the appellant prior to any decision of this Court,” states the Ninth Court’s memorandum opinion. “No other party filed notice of appeal. We grant the motion and dismiss the appeal.”

Case background

Oregon residents Dennis and Cathy Charters filed two respective lawsuits over the death of their son, Dennis Wade Charters, in Jefferson County District Court.

Wade, an electrical lineman from Idaho, died of electrocution after allegedly being lowered onto an Arkansas electrical tower via helicopter and coming into contact with live wires while working for Source Helicopters.

The first suit, filed Sept. 11, 2014, named Source, Rogers Helicopters and Lou Woodward as defendants.

The second suit, filed a year later in September 2015, named Entergy Texas, Entergy Services and Entergy Arkansas as defendants.

Entergy owned the tower and had approved the work, according to the lawsuit.

Court records show the two cases were consolidated.

On June 3 Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th District Court, issued an order denying Entergy Arkansas’ special appearance.

The term “special appearance” describes a civil defendant's appearance in the court of another state solely to dispute the personal jurisdiction of the court over the out-of-state defendant.

Entergy Arkansas appealed the ruling on June 9, arguing it proved the company lacked minimum contacts with Texas.

On July 21 the Ninth Court issued an order to stay the case

Entergy Arkansas had argued the case belongs in Arkansas.

Entergy Arkansas is represented by Cunningham and Swaim attorneys Steven D. Sanfelippo, Rebecca Solomon and G. Don Swaim

The Charters are represented by Janie L. Jordan, Richard Warren Mithoff, and Warner V. Hocker of Mithoff Law in Houston, and by Gilbert I. Low of Orgain Bell & Tucker LLP in Beaumont.

Trial court case No. B-196107

Appeals case No. 09-16-00203

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