Court Rules: Electrical Inspector’s Actions Not Cause of Plaintiffs’ Injuries

Gregory R. Grant, an attorney in the Firm’s Traverse City office, obtained dismissals of two cases on behalf of a Northern Michigan County building official and electrical inspector.  In June 2011, the decedent, a 17-year-old male, and his friend were walking along a floating dock at a busy City-owned marina.  The decedent jumped off the dock and into the marina water and was immediately electrocuted.  His best friend, and plaintiff in the companion case, jumped in to save the decedent.  He was also electrocuted.  Decedent subsequently died as a result and his friend survived with alleged injuries.

Evidence indicated that a wire from an electrical junction box located underneath the dock had been leaking electricity into the water.  Plaintiffs sued a number of defendants on gross negligence theories including the City and its City dockmaster, the general contractor who constructed the marina, the project engineers, the electrician, the County building official and electrical inspector.  The County building official was dismissed voluntarily early in the case.  Mr. Grant filed a motion for summary disposition before the close of discovery on behalf of the County electrical inspector arguing that the inspector properly approved the electrical system at the marina and that it was compliant with all applicable codes and regulations.  The court agreed that the electrical inspector did not breach any legal duty and that his actions were not the proximate cause of Plaintiffs’ injuries.  The claims against the electrical inspector were dismissed with prejudice.