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Shapiro & Appleton

Family Files Wrongful Death Suit against Dominion Virginia Power

On May 27, 2013, a 6-year-old was out fishing with her grandparents at Lake Anna when she fell from nearby rocks without any form of life preserver. Two hours after she fell, divers with Louisa Sheriff’s Office located the little girl’s body in about 30 feet of water.

 Now, her family is filing a wrongful death suit against Dominion Virginia Power for negligence. According to the lawyer representing the family, the utility company failed to warn visitors to the Lake Anna recreation area of the dangers associated with its use.

On the day of the little girl’s death, Dominion Power was using water from the lake to cool steam at its nuclear facility in Centreville, Va. The process causes water temperatures in the lake to vary greatly, resulting in strong undercurrents.

Absolutely no signage was present to warn visitors of the dangerous water conditions. Major Donald A. Lowe of the sheriff’s office said “[e]ven the strongest swimmers would have trouble surviving,” must less a little girl.

What is more appalling is that Virginia Dominion Power failed to post such signs despite the Lake’s long history of drowning-related deaths. Lowe said that the office has “had a couple of drownings there in the past just because of that current.”

The complaint also alleges that a four foot square gap between the fences at Lake Anna, through which the little girl fell, posed a safety threat to visitors, especially children.

This is a terrible tragedy. Our firm supports the family’s decision to pursue a wrongful death suit. Given the danger that undercurrents pose for all people, it was Dominion Power’s duty to warn all visitors to the recreation area of the lake. This is especially the case in light of the fact that the area is purported to be a location where family can relax and enjoy the water.

Our firm wishes the family a successful outcome as they deal with this lawsuit in the coming year.

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