Family Sues Three Electric Companies for Son's Death During Hurricane Harvey
The Pasek family from Houston, Texas are suing three electric companies for the death of their 25-year-old son, Andrew Pasek. On August 29, 2017, during Hurricane Harvey, Andrew was electrocuted by a live wire and killed while wading through floodwaters near his sister’s northwest Harris County home.
According to the Houston Chronicle, the family believes CenterPoint Energy failed to shut off power to the neighborhood, even though they were aware of the flooding and knew it was their duty to shut off power to the area.
“When the officials know that the area will be flooded, it should be mandatory that the utility companies turn off the electricity to those areas so people can evacuate safely,” said Andrew’s mother, Jodell Pasek.
Antwine Electric is also being sued for allegedly incorrectly installing electrical equipment that was connected to a TE Connectivity Corp. light fixture, which malfunctioned on a neighbor’s property before Andrew was electrocuted.
The family is suing CenterPoint Energy, TE Connectivity Corp., Antwine Electric, and the property owners who owned the light fixture for a total of $1 million for the wrongful death of Andrew Pasek. In addition to the $1 million, the family is also urging for improved policies to prevent incidents from occurring in future storms.
Maryssa Simpson of The Potts Law Firm believes cases like the Pasek’s bring up legitimate issues regarding the power companies’ safety measures and preparedness in the event of a natural disaster.
“One important point, all services providers have a responsibility to protect its customers from known dangers, and they have a duty to shut off the power if keeping it on places people in danger,” said Ms. Simpson.
While defendants may try to blame the victim for acting negligently by venturing into unknown flood waters, cases like this are usually decided in favor of the plaintiff.
Maryssa Simpson has handled many cases like the Pasek’s in her time at The Potts Law Firm and says, “Jurors often feel that power companies are in a better position to know of the dangers that put people at risk. There are usually positive results in cases like this for the plaintiffs.”