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Lawsuit by family of electrocution victim rejected on appeal

H. Mark Hamlet and Rebecca Scherrer recently prevailed at the North Carolina Court of Appeals representing one of the Defendants in this wrongful death lawsuit.

The N.C. Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld a lower court’s rejection of a lawsuit filed by the family of an Ocean Isle Beach man electrocuted in a marina construction mishap in 2008.

Charles “Buckshot” Leamon Thorpe, owner of Buck Construction, was electrocuted June 13, 2008, as he used a drill inches above the water to build a pier at the Pelican Point Marina.

While Thorpe, 36, was drilling a hole, a boat came by causing a wake that washed water over the drill. The ensuing electric shock pulled Thorpe into the water. The ruling states Thorpe yelled from the water, “Unplug me,” and a co-worker pulled the plug to the drill.

Thorpe’s parents filed a lawsuit in March 2010 making claims of negligence and wrongful death against TJM Ocean Isle Partners LLC, Coastal Construction Corp., Coastal Carolina Construction and Development and an unidentified vessel.

In September 2011, Brunswick County Superior Court Judge Robert F. Floyd granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants. The ruling effectively dismissed the lawsuit.

The appeals court Tuesday upheld Floyd’s ruling, finding that Thorpe’s own negligence contributed to his death. The ruling states Thorpe knew the outlet wasn’t grounded and he was warned of the danger when an employee refused to use the drill so close to the water.

The appeals court also noted that Thorpe was further warned of the dangers when another employee urged him to wait until the tide wasn’t as high. And as Thorpe sat on a floating dock using the drill with his feet dangling inches above the water, another worker warned him that what he was doing “couldn’t be more dangerous if he was standing in the water.”

A few minutes later, the ruling states, as Thorpe was drilling lower holes on the pier’s wooden uprights, the boat came by causing the wake.

View original article at Star News Online – Aug 7, 2012