Hidden downed power line posed threat, suit says

By John O'Brien | Nov 10, 2006

MORGANTOWN - A Morgantown man says he stepped on a downed power line that was still classified as "hot" on his way home from work.

Michael Holden filed a lawsuit Oct. 25 in Monongalia Circuit Court against Allegheny Power and Monongahela Power Company, alleging that they allowed nearly nine hours to pass from the time the power line was knocked down by a snowstorm until he stepped on it.

Holden says he was walking home from his job at Subway on Oct. 25, 2005, when the alleged incident occurred.

"Defendants were advised and had actual knowledge of the downed power line, which was 'hot', thereby presenting a high degree of risk of serious injury or death to motorists and pedestrians in the vicinity," the complaint says.

It adds that the defendants failed to secure the line as it continued to stream electric current.

"Nearly nine hours after Defendants' electric line went down and after Defendants were notified of the dangerous and hazardous condition, Plaintiff was walking along a public sidewalk returning home from work," the complaint says. "Plaintiff came into contact with Defendants' 'hot' electric wire which was now covered with snow, sustaining severe and permanent personal injuries."

Those injuries for which he seeks compensation are great physical pain and mental suffering, medical expenses, permanent scarring and disfigurement, diminution of ability to enjoy everyday activities, anger, grief, mental anguish and loss of ability to enjoy life. He also seeks punitive damages.

Morgantown attorney William Frame of Wilson, Frame, Benninger and Metheny is representing Holden.

Judge Russell Clawges has been assigned the case.

Monongalia Circuit Court case number 06-C-695

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