Judge Griffin set to rule on Entergy liability suit

Alejandro de los Rios Jun. 18, 2010, 2:36am

Judge Piper Griffin will hear a motion to dismiss a liability case against Entergy of New Orleans today in Orleans Parish Civil District Court.

New Orleans resident Wilbert White is suing Entergy New Orleans Inc., Entergy Louisiana Inc., Entergy Corp. and New Orleans resident Monica Flor after White was shocked by an allegedly uninsulated high-voltage power line while trimming a tree in Flor's yard.

Metairie attorney Frank Lagarde Jr. filed the suit on behalf of white in July 2004.

Metairie attorney Dominic Ovella is representing Flor.

New Orleans attorneys Marcus Brown, Catherine Garcia and Gary Carter are representing Entergy.

Brown, Garcia and Carter replaced New Orleans attorney Louis Galvis on March 3.

Entergy's attorneys filed a motion for dismissal of the trial on the same day, citing Article 561 of the Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure.

The motion states that "an examination of the record shows that the ... cause has been abandoned, inasmuch as all partners have failed to take any step in its prosecution or defense for a period in excess of three years."

Griffin denied Entergy's motion for dismissal, noting that a contradictory hearing must be set. On May 25, Griffin ruled that White showed cause why his claims should not be dismissed.

White alleges that Flor and Entergy are liable for his injuries because Flor failed to warn White of the danger posed by the wire and because Entergy failed to properly maintain the wire which was hanging too low to a tree.

Flor's defense claimed that White "knew of the location of the wire an the danger it posed and put himself in a position of peril."

Entergy's defense admitted that White was shocked but "specifically [denies] that the line was 'uninsulated'." Entergy's attorneys filed a reconventional demand against White claiming he failed to inform Entergy of his work on a tree near power lines, as he was required to do under the Louisiana Overhead Power Line Safety Act. Entergy's attorneys also filed a cross claim against Flor for the same reasons.

Orleans Parish Case 2004-09838

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