July 15th, 2011 by Thea
The city of Seattle agreed to pay $11,000 earlier this month to Lisa McKibbin and Nancy Bostdorff, the owners of a dog that was electrocuted after stepping onto a charged ground-cover plate on Queen Anne Ave N on Thanksgiving Day, according to a report by the Seattle PI.
McKibbin and Bostdorff filed a $60,000 claim over Sammy’s death back in March, claiming physical, emotional and monetary damages. Sammy was a 6-year-old German shorthaired pointer.
McKibbin had been walking Sammy when he stepped on and was killed by 90 volts of “stray voltage” on a sidewalk ground-plate cover. The tragedy prompted an investigation at Seattle City Light, which found that four area streetlamps, including the one that killed Sammy, had been improperly grounded by a private contractor back in 2006. City Light responded by conducting a first-ever inspection of all 37,000 streetlights and associated equipment citywide. By the time the inspection concluded in January the utility had found and repaired 56 sites with elevated voltage.
According to the PI report, as per the terms of the agreement, the city will now post contact voltage “safety messages” on the Seattle City Light website, and is also expected to post a link to a page on electrical safety from a Toronto utility.
The owners’ attorney, Adam Karp, told the PI that McKibbin and Bostdorff “congratulate the city on taking preventative steps to protect the public from future hazards.”
Read the full story at the Seattle PI.
Tags: Adam Karp, electrocuted dog, electrocution, Lisa McKibbin, Nancy Bostdorff, Queen Anne Ave N, Seattle City Light, Seattle PI, streetlight inspections, Thanksgiving, Utility
March 14th, 2011 by Thea
Lisa McKibbin and her mother, Nancy Bostdorff, the owners of the six-year-old German shorthaired pointer named Sammy who died after stepping onto an energized streetlight ground-cover plate on Queen Anne Avenue on Thanksgiving Day, have filed a $60,000 claim with Seattle City Light over the dog’s death, according to a report by The Seattle Times.
McKibbin and Bostdorff are being represented by Bellingham-based attorney Adam Karp, who specializes in animal law. The 17-page claim, which was filed Friday, included a note from Karp that the two would settle for $30,000 if City Light would agree the the following three conditions:
- That City Light post contact-voltage safety tips on its website;
- The City Light would take part in an annual contact-voltage safety conference;
- That City Light would make contact-voltage scans annual rather than every four years.
After Sammy’s death City Light conducted inspections of more than 37,000 streetlights and associated equipment citywide, finding and fixing a total of 56 sites where contact voltage of at least 30 volts was detected.
From The Seattle Times:
In the claim, Karp said that since the 68-pound dog, Sammy, was purchased in 2004, the daughter and mother had spent over $10,000 on the dog, with the big-ticket items being $5,212 for “doggy day care,” $2,400 on vet bills over the six years of his life and $1,339 for emergency treatment and cremation after the dog was electrocuted.
In the claim, Karp said Sammy “did not have a fair market or replacement value,” but “a unique value.”
“My clients loved Sammy as if he were their child. … The avoidable and wholly unexpected death by electrocution of Sammy caused complex grief and emotional harm to both my clients,” said the claim.
McKibbin originally purchased Sammy for $200.
Included in the claim were photos of Sammy on vacation with his owners, and postings by McKibbin from the blog she created shortly after his death. Karp told the Times that McKibbin needs counseling that she cannot afford because she does not have medical insurance.
The claim said McKibbin “will testify to complex grief, emotional and physical stress, haunting flashbacks replaying the witnessing of Sammy’s death, fear of herself also being killed by lethal voltage and losing him so tragically and unexpectedly.”
Suzanne Hartman, spokeswoman for City Light, told the Times that they will take a look at the claim and put it through the “normal processing to determine the reasonableness.” Karp told the Times that if no settlement is reached within 60 days, a lawsuit will follow. Read the full Times piece here. See our past coverage of the tragedy and inspections that followed here.
Tags: contact voltage, electrocuted dog, Lisa McKibbin, Nancy Bostdorff, Sammy, Seattle City Light, stray voltage, streetlight inspections, Thanksgiving, The Seattle Times
January 19th, 2011 by Thea
Seattle City Light completed its systematic inspections of more than 37,000 metal streetlight poles and associated equipment yesterday, identifying a total of 56 sites across the city that were found to have elevated voltage, the utility said in a report released Tuesday.
The city began inspections last month after a dog passed away after stepping onto an energized groundcover plate on Queen Anne Avenue on Thanksgiving Day. Stories of other unrelated, but potentially dangerous energized streetlights quickly followed, spurring the utility to take swift action. As inspections continued, more and more reports of energized streetlights and equipment rolled out (including ten sites found in neighboring Magnolia last week). You can find City Light’s inspection reports for all electrified sites on its Power Lines blog. From the City Light report.
City Light’s contractors identified a total of 49 utility facilities with contact voltage in addition to seven previously recorded by City Light for a total of 56. Contractors also discovered a metal pole for a traffic sign and several privately owned lights that were energized. City Light has notified all commercial, business, institutional, and other governmental entities about the potential for contact voltage associated with metal lamp posts that may be on their property. City Light is encouraging these customers to get the poles and associated equipment tested to ensure public safety. City Light does not maintain equipment that is located on private property.
The industry average for contact voltage potential is 0.3 percent. City Light’s testing found about 0.13 percent of its equipment had contact voltage above 30 volts. While the industry standard for a hazard is 50 volts, City Light set a lower threshold as an added safety measure.
City Light worked with two contractors, Power Survey Co. (PSC) and the Davey Resources Group, to handle the inspections. The utility is currently conducting quality assurance tests of the findings, and continues to work on necessary repairs to return all streetlights to working service.
Tags: Davey Resources Group, electrofied streetlights, groundcover plates, Power Lines, Power Survey Co., PSC, Queen Anne Avenue, Sammy, Seattle City Light, streetlight inspections