Andrew Pasek, 25, was electrocuted during Hurricane Harvey when the current from a light fixture, in someone’s yard near the sidewalk on which he was walking, passed through his ankle. At the time of the incident, Pasek was attempting to rescue his sister’s cat. When Pasek waded closer to the home at issue, he felt an electric charge surging and warned his friend to stay away as he was dying. Due to the electric current running through the water, it took the first responders over an hour to get to him, as they were forced to wait for the electricity to be turned off.
Approximately nine months later, Pasek’s family filed a lawsuit against multiple defendants, including Center Point Energy and the company that installed the light fixture. The complaint also lists the property owners of which the fixture was situated. The Pasek family’s complaint demands over $1 million in damages. Specifically, the family is seeking reimbursement for funeral expenses, as well as punitive damages. However, Pasek’s family is hoping for more than just money. They are hoping that this lawsuit can help in the enforcement of policy changes from Centerpoint Energy.
Andrew’s mother, Jodell Pasek, has stated that she and her family are on a mission to warn people about the danger of floodwaters and also to have the utility companies turn off the power in known flooded areas. She was quoted as stating that “when the officials know when the area will be flooded it should be mandatory that the utility companies turn off the electricity in those areas.”
According to the complaint, a combination of errors contributed to Pasek’s death, including a faulty electrical installation, defective equipment, and poor emergency planning. The lawsuit alleges that Antwine Electric was negligent with installing the light fixture, stating that “ the electrical equipment and/or wiring were not properly installed, contributing to the cause of Pasek’s electrocution. The electrical equipment and/or wiring, were connected to an outdoor light fixture that malfunctioned during the relevant time, causing electrical currents to enter into the water surrounding the premises.” Regarding Center Point Energy, the complaint alleges that the company knew that the area was going to flood due to the warnings issued by the Army Corps of Engineers. Finally, as for the property owners, the lawsuit accuses the family of negligence, as they should have “safe upkeep and maintenance of the property.”
According to KHOU11, after news of the lawsuit broke, Centerpoint Energy released the following statement: “Our condolences go out to Mr. Pasek’s family. Due to pending litigation, however, we are not at liberty to comment on the incident or lawsuit.” At the time of draft, the other defendants had refused to comment on either the incident or the lawsuit.