Shocked plumber sues homeowner

By Ann Knef | Jul 7, 2005

While attempting to unclog a drain at a Fairview Heights home, union plumber Richard Newton got a shocking lesson in reverse polarity.

Newton was electrocuted July 3, 2003, during a service call to Josephine and Larry Fears' home at 211 Meckfessel Dr. His work required that he plug in machinery to an outside electrical outlet at the Fears' residence.

Claiming serious injuries, lost wages and medical expenses, Newton filed a two-count $150,000 personal injury suit against the Fears in St. Clair County Circuit Court June 30.

Newton claims the Fears' electrical outlet had been improperly wired, thereby causing reverse polarity and his "electrocution," the suit states. Newton, however, did survive the incident.

He is employed by Spengler Plumbing of O'Fallon.

Newton, represented by Ronald S. Motil of Beatty, Motil & Foster of Glen Carbon, claims the homeowners were negligent for failing to properly wire the electrical outlet he used.

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