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Family of electrocuted man sues Hamilton utilities

Posted at 10:52 AM, Aug 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-13 10:52:21-04

HAMILTON, Ohio — The family of a man who was electrocuted in July 2018 has sued the city and its utilities for negligence, the Journal-News reports, including failure to warn him of potential dangers of the power lines that ran above the rental property he owned.

David Robertson was repairing a chimney by using an aerial bucket truck at a four-unit apartment complex he owned at 541 Williams Ave. The four-unit apartment building also has an address of 2301 Pleasant Ave.

The lawsuit, filed June 10 in Butler County Common Pleas Court, states the city “created a dangerous condition by improperly placing and allowing the electrical wires to be located in an improper area” and failed to “warn or otherwise guard against the hazardous condition that they created in the location and placement of the electrical wires.”

The legal filing also argues the city-owned utilities “failed to do what a reasonably prudent company would do under the same or similar circumstances,” but does not go into detail on the point.

The city declined to comment on the lawsuit.

According to the legal filing, the man’s wife, Debra Robertson, and his son, Tony Robertson, suffered severe emotional injuries because they “were at the scene of the electrocution and visibly saw David E. Robertson, who was deceased, while positioned in a bucket truck that was suspended in the air above 541 Williams Ave. and tangled in the city of Hamilton utilities’ power lines.”

Robertson’s death was one of three area electrocutions in a several-week period, two of them in Hamilton and one in Riley Township.

After the electrocutions, which caused at least two deaths, Hamilton utility officials issued a warning that whenever people are working near power lines, they should make certain they will not come into contact with power lines.

“Most of the time, power lines are not insulated,” Shayne Meadows, Hamilton’s environmental health and safety manager, who trains city employees on safety practices, told the Journal-News at the time. “They’re just open lines because they’re high enough off the ground that it’s not an issue.”