Published On: Tue, Mar 17th, 2020

The Tennessee Valley Authority is Going to Face Major Personal Injury Lawsuits

The Supreme Court issued a ruling recently that the utility corporation known as the Tennessee Valley Authority is not allowed to claim sovereign immunity in order to avoid facing a flurry of personal injury lawsuits. The utility company is owned by the government and many people thought that the government-owned utility corporation might actually be able to claim immunity, preventing many from seeking justice from the courts in the wake of major injury concerns. Fortunately, those affected will be able to have their day in court.

photo/Claim Accident Services

In a surprise ruling, the justices handed down a unanimous 9-0 verdict in a reversal of the decision issued by the local District Court of Appeals. The 11th US Circuit Court dismissed a personal injury lawsuit that was filed by a local fisherman. The fisherman was operating a boat several years ago when he collided with a power line that was draped across the Tennessee River. The power line was being raised by some of the employees of the local company.

Records from the case show that the power line, owned by the company, had fallen into the river when a construction project was taking place nearby. While the TVA did let the Coast Guard know that the downed power line was nearby, nobody told the fishermen who operate in that area. There were also no signs or buoys in the water to let people know what was going on. As the fisherman drove by, the power line caught him by the neck and nearly took his head off. According to Glotzer & Leib, “personal injury as a tort is the harm suffered by a person as a result of the negligence of another person, company, or business entity,” such as in the case above.

This highlights the major risk that power lines pose to people who operate in the nearby area. In addition to musculoskeletal injuries, such as the one in the case above, there is also the major risk of electrocution. For this reason, it is critical for everyone working with power lines to make sure that everyone is kept safe.

When the lawsuit was initially dismissed, the local power company was claiming that they were a public corporation that was created by Congress. Therefore, they can use the government’s shield of immunity and protect themselves against lawsuits if either they or their contractors are accused of wrongdoing. Now, that is not the case. The decision is going to create ripples throughout the country, holding TVA and their contractors accountable for any injuries they might cause in the future.

Author: Jacob Maslow

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