Employees sue Union Group, AEP for electrocution

By Kyla Asbury | Apr 24, 2015

FAYETTEVILLE – Two employees are suing Union Group Ltd. and Appalachian Power Company Inc. after they claim they were injured on the job.

On April 23, 2013, James Withrow and Ronald J. Brightwell were working at the direction of the defendants doing general inspection, maintenance and repairs on Skitter Creek Bridge in Fayette County, according to two complaints filed March 26 in Fayette Circuit Court.

Withrow and Brightwell claim during the process of co-workers inspecting, maintaining and repairing the bridge, a line dropped down from Union Group's bridge inspection platform and it came into contact with AEP's high voltage uninsulated electrical lines underneath the bridge.

Union Group failed to properly set up the job site and prevent the plaintiffs and co-workers from working in an unsafe environment, according to the suits.

The plaintiffs claim AEP's power lines were uninsulated and carried high voltage electrical current and, as a result, high voltage electricity surged through the plaintiffs' bodies, causing them electrical burns and other injuries.

The plaintiffs also suffered severe psychological injury and neurological damage, according to the suits.

The plaintiffs claim they were not able to return to work as a result of their injuries and Brickstreet, Union's workers' compensation carrier, refused to admit, recognize and compensate them for the resulting injuries from the electrocution.

The defendants breached their duty to the plaintiffs and failed to adequately and properly communicate with them of the degree of hazard associated with working around high voltage electrical lines, according to the suits.

The plaintiffs claim the defendants' negligence caused them severe damages.

The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory damages. They are being represented by J.C. Powell of Powell & Majestro; and Anthony Salvatore of Hewitt & Salvatore PLLC.

The cases are assigned to Circuit Judge John W. Hatcher Jr.

Fayette Circuit Court case number: 15-C-84, 15-C-85

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