Woman blames Mingo school board, others after being shocked

By Kyla Asbury | Feb 3, 2015

WILLIAMSON – A cook is suing Mingo County Board of Education after she suffered an electrical shock during the course of her work duties.

Statewide Heating and Air Conditioning Service Inc. was also named as a defendant in the suit.

Zelda Croaff  was a part-time cook at Mingo Central High School and on Oct. 16, she was retrieving food from inside the freezer when she suffered an electrical shock, according to a complaint filed Jan. 15 in Mingo Circuit Court.

Croaff claims the defendants inadequately maintained the electrical panel located inside the freezer.

The door on the freezer did not seal properly when shut and allowed for water and/or ice condensation to improperly build up inside the freezer, thereby allowing the freezer to improperly maintain moisture inside its chamber, where the freezer's electrical panel was located, according to the suit.

Croaff claims all of this was previously reported to the principal, other supervisory employees, maintenance and other employees of the Board of Education.

Due to the improper seal of the freezer door, water came in contact with a "naked" wire inside the freezer's electrical box, causing the shock to Croaff, according to the suit.

Croaff claims the freezer's safety mechanisms were not properly maintained as any condensation build-up which came in contact with the live wire should have tripped electrical breakers associated with the freezer, which would have negated  the possibility of a shocking hazard.

The defendants allowed an unsafe working condition that presented a high degree or risk for serious injury or death existed at the workplace, according to the suit.

Croaff claims requiring her to work under those conditions violated safety standards and/or commonly known federal and state regulations, which presented a high degree of risk and strong probability of serious injury or death.

The defendants had actual knowledge of the unsafe working conditions and failed to take appropriate actions to protect employees, according to the suit.

Croaff claims the defendants were negligent and carelessly, recklessly and negligently inspected, maintained and/or serviced the freezer.

Croaff is seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. She is being represented by Nathan D. Brown and Joshua S. Ferrell of Ferrell & Brown PLLC; and Brian L. Ooten of Shaffer & Shaffer PLLC.

Mingo Circuit Court case number: 15-C-11

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