September 2008

North Carolina Mother Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against EnergyUnited for Son’s Electrocution Accident

September 30, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

The Cleveland, North Carolina mother of a 6-year-old boy who died in an electrocution accident last March is suing EnergyUnited for his wrongful death. Deborah Kenemore filed her North Carolina wrongful death lawsuit against the power company earlier this month in Rowan County.

In her suit, Kenemore claims that her son Nathan died after coming into contact with an uninsulated high-voltage power line while climbing a tree in a neighbor’s backyard. The power line was carrying 7,200 volts of electricity.

Kenemore contends that, under the National Electrical Safety Code and the electric company’s own policies, EnergyUnited failed in its responsibility to prune the tree or put into place other protective measures (such as issuing a warning that the power line posed an electrical hazard) so that no one would get hurt. The white pine tree was 14 feet taller than the uninsulated electrical line and, based on EnergyUnited’s own pruning schedule, was six years overdue on being cut back. Kenemore’s suit notes that the tree and power line were easily visible to electric company workers that visited the property every month to read the electric meter.

Her North Carolina wrongful death lawsuit also says that around 7pm on March 27, Nathan became unresponsive after climbing the tree and stayed there even after Kenemore screamed for him to respond and tried to revive him herself. An ambulance transported Nathan to Davis Regional Medical Center where he was declared dead at around 8:03 pm. Electrocution was listed as the cause of death.

Kenemore is seeking punitive damages from the electrical company for her son’s wrongful death, as well as compensation for “negligent infliction of emotional distress.”

Electric Shock Facts
• About 1,000 deaths a year are caused by electrocution.
• Electrical shock occurs when electrical current runs through the body.
• Examples of injuries from electrical shock include thermal burns, cardiac arrest, tissue, nerve, and muscle damage, and death.

Mother sues EnergyUnited after boy electrocuted,, September 18, 2008

Power company sued in death of 6-year-old,, September 17, 2008

Related Web Resources:


National Electrical Safety Code Zone

Epilepsy Drug Topiramate May Increase Risk of Birth Defects

September 24, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

The Official Journal of the American Academy of Neurology is reporting that results from a small study indicate that topiramate, a drug used to treat epilepsy, may increase the chances of a newborn sustaining a birth defect if a pregnant mother takes the drug.

The test involved 203 women that became pregnant while using topiramate. Of the 178 newborns, 16 of them had major birth defects. Four of the babies had cleft lips or cleft palates. Four of the male infants were born with genital birth defects.

The rate of birth defects among newborns whose mothers took topiramate was higher than for the rest of the population. More birth defects also occurred in newborns whose mothers took both topiramate and valproate (another epilepsy drug) and women who took topiramate in conjunction with other epilepsy drugs.

However, Andres Kanner, the associate director of the Epilepsy Center at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, says the chances that a pregnant women will have a baby with a birth defect is dependent on numerous factors, some of which were not part of this study. John Craig, the lead researcher of the study, says that additional research must be performed to confirm the results but that doctors and women that are (or are considering) getting pregnant and get migraines or have epilepsy need to be warned about the potential risks that could result from using the medication. The anti-seizure drug (Topamax is the brand name) is used to treat epilepsy and migraine headaches.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, birth defects are the number one cause of infant fatalities. Causes of birth defects include:

Dangerous drugs
• Alcohol
• Exposure to certain environmental chemicals
• Exposure to high levels of radiations
• Birthing malpractice
• Genetics

Epilepsy Drug May Boost Birth Defect Risk,, July 21, 2008

Epilepsy drug linked to greater birth-defect risk, USA Today, July 25, 2008

Birth Defects,

Related Web Resources:


Topiramate, MedLinePlus

Birth Defects, CDC

Official Journal of the American Academy of Neurology

Tractor-Trailer Driver is Sued for Personal Injury in North Carolina Following Multi-Vehicle Crash on I-40

September 17, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol is charging truck driver Carroll Edward Jett with misdemeanor death by vehicle for allegedly causing a multi-vehicle pileup on I-40 last July 1. The deadly multi-vehicle collision occurred east of Asheville when the tractor-trailer that Jett was driving ran into six motor vehicles that were stopped from behind.

According to a police citation, the 60-year-old tractor-trailer driver was speeding. Although no toxicology tests were performed, the Highway Patrol does not believe alcohol or drugs were a factor in causing the crash. 11 people were injured and Haiden Bailey, a 15-month-old toddler, died in the tractor-trailer accident.

54-year-old McDowell County resident Margie Gail Durie sustained serious injuries in the crash. She filed her personal injury lawsuit against Jett, truck owner and employer Coretrans, and Marlboro Warehouse Co.

Durie’s lawsuit accuses Jett of failing to slow down his tractor-trailer, violating state and federal safety laws while operating the truck, failing to pay attention to work zone conditions, failing to keep a proper lookout, and operating his tractor-trailer while recklessly disregarding other people’s safety and rights.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

• 4,808 people died in large truck accidents last year.
• 802 of the victims were in the truck.
• 3,601 truck accident victims were riding the other vehicles that were involved in the crash.

Driver charged in I-40 pileup,, August 29, 2008

Woman injured in July I-40 crash sues trucker, trucking company,, August 1, 2008

Related Web Resources:

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (PDF)

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Husband of Murdered North Carolina Worker Who Was Kidnapped From Parking Garage Sues City of Raleigh for Wrongful Death

September 8, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

The city of Raleigh and utility company Progress Energy are two of the defendants named in the North Carolina wrongful death lawsuit filed by the husband of Cynthia Moreland, the woman who was kidnapped from a parking garage in downtown Raleigh and later murdered. In his North Carolina wrongful death lawsuit, Walter Moreland is accusing the city of Raleigh and Progress Energy of negligence because of their failure to provide adequate security at the garage. Raleigh leases the garage to the utility company.

On August 22, 2006, Cynthia, who works for Progress Energy, was headed to work when she was kidnapped, raped, and murdered by Antonio Davon Chance. Her body was discovered 11 days later in Harnett County. Chance, who pleaded guilty to the criminal charges against him, is serving a lifetime prison sentence.

The lawsuit contends that Progress Energy either knew or should have known that it had employees that would park their vehicles in the garage even on the days that they came to work early. The complaint called the parking surveillance system “inadequate” and accuses the city of Raleigh of negligence and of appearing to be more interested in generating parking revenue while making security a lesser priority.

Also named as defendants in the wrongful death lawsuit are Quantum Support Inc., McLaurin Parking Co., and Security Forces Inc. The plaintiffs contend that those in charge of monitoring security in the garage should have noticed on the surveillance cameras that Chance was in the garage and behaving suspiciously.

The cameras captured footage of Chance driving Cynthia’s motor vehicle out of the parking garage. Walter’s complaint says that if security personnel had been “reasonably attentive,” they would have noted that a “scared, well-dressed woman” was with the driver.

Inadequate security on a premise can be grounds for a premises liability or wrongful death lawsuit if someone is killed or injured on the property, and the premise owner or manager could have done something to prevent the crime or accident from happening.

Progress Energy, city named in wrongful death suit,, August 21, 2008

Read the Complaint (PDF)

Cynthia Moreland Homicide Case,

North Carolina Wrongful Death Lawsuit Accuses Buncombe County Jail of Failing to Provide Diabetic Inmate with Medical Care

September 5, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

A North Carolina wrongful death lawsuit says the Sheriff’s Office in Buncombe County ignored an inmate’s screams of pain and cries for medical help. Marvis Gail Davidson, 43, died on July 8, 2004 in her jail cell.

Davidson, who had diabetes, was jailed for a probation violation on June 30, 2004. The lawsuit contends that jail officials knew about her medical condition yet they ignored her cries for help (in addition to the other inmates calling out that Davidson be given medical attention), threatened to discipline her for creating a disturbance, and exhibited an “indifference” and “disregard” for Davidson’s well-being and safety. At one point, the lawsuit says that Davidson was “writhing and screaming on the floor in pain.”

She was waiting to see a nurse practitioner at the time of her death. Her autopsy results show that “dead gut,” often associated with diabetes, was her cause of death. In 2005, a worker at the jail filed a complaint about the way the Davidson was treated.

Depending on the circumstances surrounding a wrongful death, family members in North Carolina may be entitled to recover compensation for:

• Medical care to treat condition that led to the death.
• Pain and suffering.
• Funeral costs.
• Damages that would have been owed to the decedent had he or she survived the injuries.
• Lost wages.
• Loss of protection, care, society, companionship, guidance, comfort, and advice of the deceased.
• Punitive damages.

Sheriff’s Office sued over 2004 prisoner death, Mountain Express, August 27, 2008

Lawsuit faults jailers in death,, August 14, 2008

Related Web Resources:

To View the Wrongful Death Lawsuit (PDF)

American Diabetes Association

NHTSA Ranks North Carolina and South Carolina as Two US States With Greatest Increase In DUI Deaths

September 2, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, North Carolina and South Carolina are the two US states that have experienced the largest increase in DUI deaths between 2006 and 2007. The report, called the 2007 Traffic Safety Annual Assessment—Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities, found that out of the 1,675 traffic deaths that occurred in North Carolina last year, 487 of these motor vehicle deaths involved alcohol—66 more deaths than the 421 alcohol-related fatalities that occurred in the state in 2006.

In South Carolina, out of the 1,066 motor vehicle deaths in 2007, 463 of the fatalities involved alcohol. The state experienced 419 drunk driving deaths in 2006.

The report also included national DUI statistics and facts, including:

• 12,998 DUI-related deaths in the US in 2007.
• While 32 states experienced a drop in alcohol-related fatalities between 2007 and 2006, other states experienced an increase in deaths.
• Total drunk driving deaths dropped 4% in 2007 compared to 2006.
• The number of alcohol-related motorcyclist deaths increased in 25 US states.

Also, motorcyclists comprised 57 of the 487 drunk driving deaths that took place in North Carolina last year. In South Carolina, there were 56 alcohol-related motorcyclist deaths in 2007.

Meantime, some 100 college president, including the president of Duke University in North Carolina, are calling on lawmakers to lower the legal drink age. The presidents belong to a movement known as the Amethyst Initiative, whose members believe that lowering the drinking age might make teens less likely to “binge drink.”

In North Carolina and South Carolina, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or greater. Drunk driving is dangerous and can lead to serious personal injuries and deaths.

Area Tops List of Fatal DUI Crashes in 2007,, August 29, 2008

Drunken-driving deaths fall in 32 states,, August 28, 2008

Related Web Resources:

Amethyst Initiative

2007 Traffic Safety Annual Assessment—Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities, NHTSA (PDF)


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