PHILIPPI, W.V. -- Two Barbour County residents have cited an energy company for failing to ensure the safety of its equipment.
James M. Barkelew, individually and as guardian and conservator for Janet Z. Berkelew, filed a lawsuit on Sept. 24 in Barbour Circuit Court against FirstEnergy Corp., doing business as Mon Power, alleging negligence and property damage.
The complaint alleges that the defendant's power lines disconnected from the utility pole located parallel to the plaintiffs' property on around May 11. This allegedly led to the electrocution of a bull and a steer owned by the plaintiffs, as well as a fire that burned their storage shed.
The suit alleges the defendant was reckless with regards to its duty of care to the plaintiffs as it failed to properly maintain its power lines and crossbars. Despite knowing that the crossbars on the utility poles near the plaintiffs' property were in need of repair and that the power lines were at risk of becoming disconnected from the poles, the defendant allegedly did nothing and allowed the unsafe conditions to exist.
The plaintiffs seek compensation for personal and real property damages, general damages for aggravation and emotional distress, actual or reasonably expected loss of income, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, and punitive damages. They are being represented by attorneys Hunter B. Mullens and Thomas B. Hoxie of Mullens & Mullens, PLLC in Philippi, West Virginia.
Barbour Circuit Court case no.15-C-60.