Putnam man faults AEP for electrocution

By Lawrence Smith | Aug 17, 2009

CHARLESTON - A Putnam County man is alleging the power company is at fault for injuries he sustained when a ladder he was using came into contact with overhead wires.

Jonathan West filed suit against American Electric Power in Kanawha Circuit Court on July 31. In his complaint, West, a resident of Red House, alleges AEP owed him a duty to better insulate power lines around Dunbar to prevent his electrocution.

According to court records, West was cleaning gutters at a building on Payne Avenue Dunbar on July 31, 2007. As he moved the ladder from one part of the building to the next, it "came near the overhead power lines or came into contact with the overhead power lines."

Because the lines were old, and did not have proper insulation, a dose of high voltage electricity was allowed to pass through the ladder and into his body, West alleges. Though his suit lacks specifics, West maintains the jolt left him with "enormous physical and mental injuries."

In any event, West claims AEP had a duty to operate the lines in a reasonable and prudent manner, including keeping them proper insulated. He is asking he be awarded unspecified damages for his injuries.

West is represented by Thomas R. Boggs with the Huntington law firm of Duffield, Lovejoy and Stemple.

The case is assigned to Judge James C. Stucky.

Kanawha Circuit Court Case No. 09-C-1391

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