Woman sues Lou Wendell Marine for electric shock

By Kyla Asbury | May 31, 2013

CHARLESTON - A woman who was shocked by electricity while descending the ladder of a boat is suing Lou Wendell Marine for her injuries.

James B. Carrier, the owner of the boat, was also named as a defendant in the suit.

On June 21, 2011, Barbara Russell was at Lou Wendell Marine hanging out on a boar owned by Carrier and, in an effort to cool off, decided to get into the Kanawha River. She descended a ladder on the back of the boat into the water, according to a complaint filed May 22 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Russell claims at that time, she was shocked by a live current that was present in the water either due to an electrical issue with Carrier's boat or a deficient electrical system on Lou Wendell's dock, or both.

Unable to escape the electrical current/shock waves, Russell was in distress and sunk below the surface and was under the water for approximately 90 seconds before she was rescued, according to the suit.

Russell claims at the time she was pulled from the water, her body was limp and lifeless and she was disoriented with very shallow breathing.

Following the incident, Russell began experienced headaches, sleep pattern disturbance, anxiety and some difficulty with focused attention and forgetfulness, according to the suit, and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, post trauma insomnia and electrocution.

Russell claims an electrician visited the scene and determined the 50 ampere circuit breaker feeding the dock was incorrect for the application; the neutral buss and ground buss were not isolated for a four-wire system; corrosion was present on the ground/neutral buss; and the punch holes were improperly covered.

As a result of the electrical issue present with Carrier's boat and/or deficient wiring at the marina, Russell has suffered serious physical injury and pain; incurred medical expenses, including hospital/doctor bills, treatments by psychiatrists/psychologists, medication and various other medical professionals; incurred lost wages; suffered from mental anguish and a lost capacity to participate in life's activities; and suffered from a loss of enjoyment of life, according to the suit.

Russell is seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. She is being represented by Damon L. Ellis of Mani, Ellis & Layne PLLC.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Louis H. Bloom.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 13-C-1008

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