Con Edison Sued by Family of Woman Electrocuted in Storm

Consolidated Edison Inc. (ED) was sued by relatives of a New York woman killed during Hurricane Sandy when she was touched by a downed electrical wire that the family claims Con Ed should have shut down before the storm hit.

Lauren Abraham, a 23-year-old makeup artist and teacher-in-training, was electrocuted outside her home in the Richmond Hill section of Queens on the night of Oct. 29 as Sandy tore through New York City, according to the family. The suit was filed today in state Supreme Court in Manhattan by attorneys with Thompson Wigdor LLP and the Cochran Firm.

Abraham “burst into flames” and burned in the street, “writhing and screaming” while neighbors and friends looked on, according to the complaint. The family is seeking unspecified damages and an order either blocking Con Ed from continuing to operate New York’s power lines or appointing an independent expert to monitor and review its operation.

Abraham died because Con Ed “prioritized its bottom line over human life and failed to implement the proper technology to detect downed power lines and de-energize them when they are severed,” according to the lawsuit. “Con Ed also failed to maintain its extensive system of power lines properly, and failed to prepare for the storm adequately.”

“We have yet to be served with a filed copy of the complaint,” Robert McGee, a spokesman for Con Edison, said in a telephone interview. “This was a tragedy caused by Superstorm Sandy. We will address the matter in court.”

The case is Abraham v. Consolidated Edison Company of New York Inc., 158515/2013, New York State Supreme Court, New York County (Manhattan).

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Dolmetsch in New York State Supreme Court at cdolmetsch@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

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