Judge dismisses some counts against contractor in electrocution suit

Family, attorneys plan to pursue additional legal action against city

May 14, 2010|By Liz F. Kay, The Baltimore Sun

Relatives of a 14-year-old girl who was electrocuted on a Druid Hill Park softball field said they plan to pursue further legal action against the city after a Baltimore Circuit Court judge dismissed some parts of a civil suit they filed against an electrical contractor in the incident.

But Judge Shirley M. Watts denied a defense motion to dismiss other parts of the lawsuit, including negligence, that might go to a jury trial, while requesting more briefs.

Deanna Green had been stretching before a church softball game in May 2006 when she touched two fences, one of which was touching an underground cable, according to authorities. This completed a circuit, sending electricity coursing through her body and killing the girl.

"DEL Electric was brought in decades after the fence and cable were installed," company attorney Thomas McCarron said after Friday's hearing. "None of their work could have ever foretold this."

The Green family filed lawsuits asking for damages from DEL, the city and Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., as well as answers about what happened. A judge dismissed the cases against the city and BGE this year.

But the Greens plan to revisit the city's liability, said University of Baltimore law professor Jose Anderson, whose daughter was best friends with Green, an aspiring opera singer. Anderson has been assisting with the family's case.

City officials initially told the family that no underground repairs had been made at the field, but the Greens later received documents that showed repairs had been made underground at least once, in 2003, Anderson said.

The family discovered in February, from DEL documents shared as part of the suit, that its workers made repairs for the city near the park's lower bowl softball fields at least six times within the three years before the 2006 incident — including once two months before Deanna's death.

"I think it's a huge difference to say 'once in '03' as opposed to several times, including in the several weeks before her death," Anderson said.

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