Journalist pins electrocution during Harvey on CenterPoint, claims company failed to 'kill' submerged lines

By John Suayan | Aug 7, 2018

HOUSTON – A reporter for a British newspaper has filed a lawsuit against CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric LLC in response to getting electrocuted during a hurricane last year.

According to recent Harris County District Court records, Alan Butterfield sued the utilities company in Harris County 333rd District Court on Aug. 6.

The journalist for The Daily Mail says he was part of a group of people conducting rescue efforts in a neighborhood close to Greens Bayou some three days after Hurricane Harvey’s landfall, stating that electrical lines submerged in the floodwaters killed the boat’s engine.

With the boat rushing toward the lines, Butterfield says, he jumped into the water “in a last ditch attempt to save himself from coming into contact” with said lines.

“However, after coming into contact with the water, the plaintiff was electrocuted and severely injured,” the suit says. “The plaintiff escaped the water by climbing up a nearby tree, and stayed in the tree for almost 24 hours until he was rescued.”

Court documents assert that CenterPoint “is responsible for operational decisions regarding when to ‘kill’ power lines that become submerged in water” and “is the only party with the ability.”

“The defendant CenterPoint’s failure to shut off power to the electrical lines in the area caused the plaintiff serious injuries,” the original petition says.

Consequently, Butterfield seeks unspecified monetary damages.

He is represented by Muhammad S. Aziz of the law firm Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz in Houston.

Harris County 333rd District Court Case No. 2018-52012

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