Third Court of Appeals Affirms Judgment for Plaintiff in Electrocution Case

By August 27, 2015March 8th, 2019Court Decisions, Press Releases

The Third Court of Appeals has affirmed a judgment awarding damages to a journeyman electrician severely injured after contacting live current while working on a commercial remodeling job.

The plaintiff electrician had been instructed to “work hot”—without disconnecting power—to avoid disrupting the business and to prevent the general contractor from owing liquidated damages upon failing to complete the project on time. The electrical subcontractor who hired the plaintiff challenged the trial court’s judgment holding it liable for a portion of plaintiff’s damages under a negligence theory.

D. Todd Smith handled the jury charge conference and defended the trial court’s judgment on appeal. Relying in part on the Texas Supreme Court’s recent decision in Austin v. Kroger Texas, L.P. (No. 14-0216)—decided while the appeal was pending—the appellate court concluded that the electrical subcontractor’s duty to plaintiff was governed by general negligence principles rather than premises liability law. The appellate court also found the evidence legally and factually sufficient to support the jury’s negligence verdict.

Plaintiff’s trial team consisted of Henry Moore and Jayme Bomben of the Law Office of Henry Moore and Sally Metcalfe of Metcalfe Law, PLLC.

Gattis Electric, Inc. v. Mann, No. 03-14-00080-CV (Tex. App.—Austin Aug. 26, 2015) (slip opinion available here).