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The Accident Lawyers Network Blog

Accident Lawyers Network

Monday, March 3, 2008

$6.5 Million Award Upheld by Appeals Court in Soldier’s Death

In 2004, 21-year-old Army Pvt. Van Ryan Marcum was half way through his 14-week basic training at Ft. Benning, Georgia. As he leaned against an abandoned latrine after a firing range exercise, he was electrocuted and died.

Investigators found there was a short in a fan's wiring, a faulty circuit breaker, and that the latrine was not sufficiently grounded. The private contractor, The Shaw Group, based out of Baton Rouge, was in charge of maintenance and repair on Ft. Benning, including the latrine.

Marcum's family filed a wrongful death suit against The Shaw Group, and a jury awarded them $6.5 million for mental anguish, pain and suffering, and loss of life. The Shaw Group countered, claiming it was not responsible because the Army gave them an extension on the demolition of the latrine. They also claim that the judge in the case made a mistake in giving the rules to the jury.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis disagreed with The Shaw Group, and upheld the jury's earlier ruling. The Court of Appeals states they support the jury's verdict "that an appreciable risk from harm was foreseeable, including electrocution."

We all know that there are risks involved during the basic training phase of those who join the military. However, family members also expect some degree of care to be taken, as well as given, to the soldiers who volunteer. What is not expected is that soldiers, like Pvt. Marcum, will be electrocuted on the firing range. If negligence is found, then the families have a right to seek compensation.

If you, or a loved one, feel that you are entitled to compensation resulting from a wrongful death, please contact the Accident Lawyers Network to find an experienced injury lawyer in your area.

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posted by Neil at 9:43 AM

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