NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The family of a young woman who was electrocuted during Superstorm Sandy has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Con Edison, claiming the utility failed to act to prevent the tragedy.
As CBS 2’s Don Champion reported Wednesday, Lauren Abraham, 23, was finally working toward her dream of doing professional makeup, when her dream was cut short when the storm struck on Oct. 29 of last year.
“Every day, that girl is missed,” said Abraham’s mother, Kim Tinnin, who is still brought to tears thinking about the accident that ended her daughter’s life.
Abraham was killed when she went outside her Richmond Hill, Queens home last to take a picture of hurricane Sandy’s approach around 8:30 p.m. She accidentally stepped on a downed power line. Tinnin was notified not by police or Con Edison, but by a neighbor, 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported.
“The flames grew so large that one neighbor didn’t even realize that a person was being burned,” said family attorney Doug Wigdor.
Tinnin was working overnight in Connecticut at the time, WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported. She was notified of her daughter’s death not by police or Con Edison, but by a neighbor, 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported.
“That’s what I walked into – the driveway with her charred remains, smell,” Tinnin said.
Family attorneys said Abraham’s life would have been saved if the power line had been maintained properly.
“We have reason to believe Con Edison was negligent in its maintenance of the wires,” Wigdor said.
Attorneys said the power line in question should not have come down in the weaker winds that Abraham’s neighborhood was seeing at the time of the accident. They also claimed Con Ed should have had technology available to shut off power automatically to a downed line.
“What we’re saying, and it’s laid out in the complaint, is there’s a pattern and practice at Con Edison of failing to institute reasonable measures to protect the safety of both its employees and general public,” Wigdor said.
In a statement, Con Ed said: “We have yet to be served with a filed copy of the complaint. This was a tragedy caused by Superstorm Sandy — we’ll address the matter in court.”
In their complaint, the family does not ask for a specific amount for compensation, leaving that decision up to a jury. In the end, the family said no amount of money will ever ease their pain, and to them, the lawsuit is about preventing another tragedy.’
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