Construction worker's electrocution death is subject of suit

Kelly Holleran Apr. 1, 2009, 6:46am

A Marine woman says her son died after he was electrocuted while working under contract for Forrest Lerch Enterprises.

Star A. Lange is seeking more than $200,000 over the Nov. 19 death of her son, Christopher L. Lange.

Star says Christopher was working for K.O. Construction, which had been contracted by Forrest Lerch to provide construction services at a residential construction site at 5938 Sugar Loaf Road in Maryville.

While working at the site on Nov. 19, Christopher moved a ladder. The ladder contacted a 7,200 volt power line in the work area, causing his electrocution and death, according to the complaint filed March 30 in Madison County Circuit Court.

Because of Christopher's death, his relatives have suffered the loss of his society, love, affection, care, attention, companionship, comfort, guidance and financial support. They have also suffered substantial grief and sorrow, the complaint says.

Christopher's family also incurred substantial medical, hospital and funeral bills because of his death, the suit states.

Forrest Lerch failed to reasonably inspect the premises, failed to provide Christopher with a safe place to work, failed to shut off power running through overhead power lines, provided a workplace that allowed workers to work around power circuits without protecting them and allowed work to commence without making sure workers and their tools would not come into contact with power lines, the suit states.

The company also failed to warn of the electric shock hazard and provided a workplace where a worker using a ladder without nonconductive siderails could contact exposed power lines, Star alleges.

In addition to the $200,000, Star is seeking costs.

Matthew R. Chapman of Becker, Schroader and Chapman in Granite City.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-322.

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