Farmhand's father sues Maschoff Environmental over son's electrocution

By Kelly Holleran | Feb 7, 2013


The father of a recently deceased man has filed suit against his son’s employer, alleging his son was killed after being electrocuted while working in the dark.

Donald Bledsoe alleges his 19-year-old son, Nicholas Bledsoe, was working as a farm-hand employee at defendant Elm Farms’s dairy farm in Washington County on March 3, 2011, when the incident occurred.

Bledsoe and his co-worker were attempting to free a raccoon from an irrigation pipe owned by Elm Farms. The farm had placed the pipe directly below an uninsulated power line, which Bledsoe could not see at the time of the rescue attempt because he was working at night, according to the complaint filed Jan. 24 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

“As Nicholas Bledsoe and Justin Eldride were in the process of standing the 30-foot irrigation pipe vertical to free the raccoon, the irrigation pipe came into contact with the overhead uninsulated power line causing serious injuries that resulted in Nicholas Bledsoe’s death on March 3, 2011,” the suit states.

Because of Nicholas Bledsoe’s death, his family lost his companionship and society and suffered grief, sorrow and mental anguish, the complaint says.

Donald Bledsoe blames Elm Farms and its owner, Maschhoff Environmental, for causing his son’s death, saying they negligently placed the irrigation pipe in an unsafe location, allowed their employees to work in the dark and failed to properly train their employees, among other negligent acts.

He also names Ameren Illinois as a defendant, saying it negligently failed to insulate the overhead power lines at the farm.

In his three-count complaint, Donald Bledsoe is seeking a judgment of more than $225,000, plus costs.

Thomas Q. Keefe Jr. and Thomas E. Schooley of Keefe and Keefe in Belleville will be representing him.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 13-L-26.

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