Illinois Power sued for ESL man's electrocution

Ann Knef Jun. 4, 2008, 7:46am

Illinois Power Co. is being sued by the estate of a man electrocuted July 20, 2006, by an energized power line located near 1400 Missouri Ave. in East St. Louis.

Ameren CIPS and Ameren UE are also named as defendants in the suit filed June 2 in St. Clair County by Anthony Chapman on behalf of his father, Chester Chatman.

The complaint alleges the defendants knew or should have known that the power lines near Chatman's property had fallen.

"[A]fter falling the power to the lines needed to be cut so that a deadly amount of electricity was not still feeding the line," the complaint states.

Th complaint states that defendants had a duty to:

  • Operate and maintain a monitoring system to notify when a power line falls;

  • Respond in a timely manner to the monitoring system;

  • Attach breakers to the power line which, when tripped by falling lines, would cut power to the line;

  • Attach electrical circuits to the power line which would lock open and de-energize the power line when the power line fell;

  • Use the lowest-amperage fuse that could reasonably be used on the power lines;

  • Use appropriate and reliable relays and sensors on its power lines to notify of downed lines;

  • Cut the power to the downed power line within a reasonable amount of time after it knew or should have known that the power line fell but was still energized;

  • Repair the downed power line within a reasonable amount of time;

  • Insulate the power line so as to minimize harm if contacted by people;

  • Use wire which is physically stronger than the copper wire used so as to minimize breakage of lines;

  • Inspect power lines;

  • Keep power lines in good repair;

  • Keep area around power lines free from trees and limbs; and

  • Comply with state and local regulations.

    Chapman claims his father experienced great physical pain and suffering and his family has been deprived of his support and society.

    Seeking in excess of $150,000 in damages, Chatman's estate is represented by Andrew O'Brien and Christina J. Nielsen of the O'Brien Law Firm in St. Louis.

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