Southwestern Electric denies allegations in wrongful death suit

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Oct 9, 2013


An electric distribution cooperative is denying allegations brought against it in a wrongful death lawsuit.

On Sept. 11, Southwestern Electric Cooperative denied that the plaintiff has properly stated a cause of action for wrongful death and denies that the plaintiff was damaged to the extent alleged.

Nancy Mehochko claims her husband Gregory Mehochko was working near and touching a concrete mixer on Jan. 23 when an overhead power line without insulation collapsed and came in contact with the concrete mixer. Gregory Mehochko died on Feb. 12.

The power line is owned by Southwestern Electric Cooperative and was knocked over after a track hoe came into contact with it.

According to the complaint, Nancy Mehochko claimed her husband was working on a construction project near the intersection of State Route 162 and Lakeview Acres Road in Maryville at the time of the incident.

Third party defendant Thiems Construction Company denied allegations Southwestern Electric Cooperative brought against it on Sept. 12, arguing that its claim for contribution is barred by the exclusive remedy provision of the Illinois Worker’s Compensation Act.

Nancy Mehochko alleges Southwestern Electric Cooperative failed to maintain its power line, failed to maintain the reclosures protecting the power line and failed to suspend its power line at the proper height.

The complaint also lists Concrete Supply as a defendant, which stated on July 11 that if the plaintiff sustained injuries, they are the result of the carelessness, negligence, fault and/or unlawful conduct of persons other than the defendant.

St. Clair County Circuit Judge Vincent Lopinot scheduled a status conference for Dec. 9 at 9 a.m.

Previously, Southwestern Electric Cooperative filed a motion to dismiss, which was denied, stating that the plaintiff failed to plead sufficient facts to demonstrate the company owed a duty to the decedent, breached a duty and caused the worker’s death.

A jury has been demanded by Concrete Supply of Illinois, Southwestern Electric Cooperative and Thiems Construction Company.

Nancy Mehochko seeks a judgment of more than $50,000 in damages.

Bruce R. Cook of Cook, Ysura, Bartholomew, Brauer and Shevlin in Belleville represents Nancy Mehochko.

James Stockberger of Armstrong Teasdale LLP in St. Louis represents Concrete Supply of Illinois.

John McCollough and Matthew Champlin of HeplerBroom in Edwardsville represent Southwestern Electric Cooperative.

W. Jeffrey Muskopf and Annie Bode Callahan in St. Louis represent Thiems Construction Company.

St. Clair County Court case number 13-L-138

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