Judge to decide whether case on girl's electrocution in Druid Hill Park may go forward

Family seeks damages from firm city hired for work near softball fields

May 13, 2010|By Brent Jones, The Baltimore Sun

Four years after a 14-year-old girl was electrocuted at Druid Hill Park while playing softball, a Baltimore judge will decide Friday whether to dismiss a civil case against an electrical firm the city hired for nearby repair work.

Del Electric worked near Druid Hill Park's lower bowl softball fields at least six times in the three years before Deanna Green's death, including two months before the accident, according to court papers. Deanna's parents, Anthony and Nancy Green, sued Del Electric for damages.

But attorneys for the city contractor said the company cannot be held liable for the girl's death.

Deanna, the Greens' youngest child, was playing in a church league softball game in May 2006 when she braced one foot against a steel fence — which authorities said was touching an underground cable — and grabbed another fence, completing an electrical circuit. She was killed instantly.

The Greens initially filed lawsuits against the city, Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. and Del Electric, seeking damages and an explanation of how the incident occurred. Earlier this year, a judge dismissed the city and BGE from the lawsuit, leaving Del as the sole defendant.

Initially, the family just wanted to know what went wrong, but requests for an explanation by city officials were ignored, Anthony Green said. Green said he hoped the lawsuit would provide answers as to who was responsible for the accident.

"The sad part about it is, people have thought that we have settled or that the case was over. And people want answers," said Anthony Green, a former defensive player for the Baltimore Colts. "Why would you not want to answer it, come clean and say what happened? We're not going away. It's going to come out."

Andrew J. Toland III, an attorney representing the Greens, said documents he received from Del Electric after the company lost its initial motion for dismissal earlier this year showed that "about two months before her death, they dug 300 feet of new lines to the light post that was 60 feet from where she died."

Attorney Thomas V. McCarron has asked that liability counts against Del Electric be dismissed, contending in court papers that the company had no involvement with the underground cable and fence, which were laid when the field was built in the early 1960s. Del Electric said it had no prior knowledge of the existence of the underground cable.

Baltimore Circuit Judge Shirley Watts will preside over the hearing.

"Deanna is very much part of our family still, and always will be," Nancy Green said. "We just want to get some justice for her."

brent.jones@baltsun.com

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