YORK — Personal representatives of the estate of Korey Schall, a York man who died from work-related electrocution on Aug. 21, 2009, say his death could have been prevented and have filed a wrongful death lawsuit in York County District Court.
Schall, who was 23 at the time of his death, was the father of a young child. Estate representatives say they are seeking damages “for the exclusive benefit of the child.”
Schall was employed by Crane Grain Services LLC as a foreman at the time of his death, according to reports from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The government agency said in a report issued in October, 2009, that Schall “was injured by electricity while assembling a grain bin on a farm near York and later died. An improperly wired flexible cord was in use at the time of the accident and the company used damaged ladders and didn’t properly train workers on ladder use.”
Tim Sieh, who was York County Attorney at the time, said an autopsy was performed but that the investigation was turned over to OSHA which later fined Crane Grain Services $9,300.
The News-Times was contacted shortly after OSHA’s ruling, by the company in question, which stated that the fine was later reduced. However, confirmation of that reduction has never been confirmed by OSHA despite repeated requests.
Now, Security First Bank, acting as the representative of Schall’s estate, has filed a complaint against Nebraskaland Electric, Inc., APC Inc. (doing business as A+ Construction) and the Saddoris Family Trust.
The petition alleges that at the time of Schall’s death, Nebraskaland Electric, which was apparently conducting or had conducted electrical work at the work site, “failed to provide a 240 GFCI receptacle outlet, failed to provide adequate electrical safety testing, inspecting and supervision for all electrical cords and components attached to the electrical power and failed to removal all unsafe electrical equipment attached to the power source.”
As far as APC, Inc., the petition alleges that the second company “failed to use reasonable care while undertaking electrical work for which (they) were unqualified to perform, created a defective and unreasonably dangerous condition; failed to provide adequate electrical safety testing, inspecting and supervision for all electrical cables and components that were hard wired; and failed to remove all unsafe electrical cable and components attached to the power source.”
When it comes to the estate’s complaint against the Saddoris Family Trust, owners of the property where the incident occurred, it is alleged that an employee of the Trust “failed to provide a safe place for Schall to work; failed to take special precautions to reduce or eliminate peculiar unreasonable risks of physical harm; created an inherently dangerous condition by not providing a 240 GFCI outlet; ratified the negligent actions of APC and its employee who was a person unqualified to perform electrical work; failed to provide safety testing and ratified an inherently dangerous condition.”
The petitioners say further that negligence of the defendants “directly and proximately caused the electrocution and death of Korey Schall,” causing (the child) special damages in the amount of $17,567.
As a result of Schall’s death, they say his son also “suffered general damages for loss of services, comfort, companionship and financial support.” No dollar amount has been attached to that issue, with the petitioners asking for a ruling that provides a “fair, reasonable and just amount.”
Security First does not ask for a financial settlement from Crane Grain, which has been named as a third party in this case. Crane Grain simply responded, in a formal statement to the court, that it has paid a substantial amount of money in indemnity and burial benefits to Schall’s son, pursuant to the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Act and will continue paying through the duration of its obligation. The Crane company asks that if damages are awarded to the plaintiff that the court recognize Crane’s subrogation.
Nebraskland Electric, APC and the Saddoris Family Trust have denied all allegations of negligence, as well as having any responsibility or role in the matter.