Wrongful death lawsuit filed over Macon woman’s electrocution

awomack@macon.comJuly 1, 2013 

The administrator of the estate of a Macon woman electrocuted last year while swimming beside a dock at Lake Sinclair has filed a wrongful death suit against the dock’s owners.

Devin Olivia Powers, 25, was visiting a friend on Bluegill Run in Eatonton on May 5, 2012, when the women went to a nearby home and swam near a neighbor’s dock.

The dock’s flooring recently had been replaced, and an outlet box was lying on the decking, along with a bare wire, according to the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office.

At some point, Powers was treading water near the dock when she touched the dock and came in contact with either the outlet box or wire, said Trent Speckhals, an Atlanta lawyer representing Powers’ estate.

An autopsy later confirmed that Powers died of electrocution, according to the Putnam County coroner’s office.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Bibb County Superior Court, names CBM Investments Inc., Carey B. Merrell and three John Does as defendants. Putnam County property records list CBM Investments Inc. as the owner of the property at 106 Bluegill Run. Georgia Secretary of State records list Merrell as holding multiple offices within CBM Investments and having a Macon address.

Attempts to reach Merrell for comment Monday were unsuccessful.

The lawsuit contends that Powers was electrocuted due to improper and dangerous wiring on the dock, and that CBM and Merrell either knew or should have known that the wiring was improper and dangerous.

CBM and Merrell were negligent, according to the suit, and didn’t take precautionary measures to prevent an electrocution or to make the area safe.

Macon lawyer Robert Herndon is acting as administrator of Powers’ estate and conservator for her 2-year-old daughter.

Speckhals said the loss of a young girl’s mother is tragic in itself. But Powers’ death also was preventable.

It’s important that something is done, he said, “to ensure this doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

Powers’ estate is seeking attorneys’ fees, court costs and unspecified punitive damages.

To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.

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