Melquan Robinson's family intends to file 'gross negligence' lawsuit against Augusta-Richmond County

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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Melquan Robinson, 12, pictured here, was killed last fall when he came into contact with a fence that electrocuted him. (Source: Robinson Family)

AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW/WAGT) -- The legal team representing Melquan Robinson's family have placed Augusta-Richmond County government on notice that a lawsuit will be filed for "gross negligence" that lead to the 12-year-old's death last fall.

The ante litem notice, filed on April 12, gives city and county officials the opportunity to prepare a response to what the Robinson legal team will be alleging in their lawsuit.

A monetary figure, according to the notice, breaks down to $4 million for Robinson's wrongful death claim and $1 million for the claims of his estate.

Robinson, 12, was electrocuted at Fleming Park last fall. Since then, the city and county have been working to get city parks with similar wiring inspected so what happened to the Robinson family will never happen again.

The notice claims the city and the county knew of the risks and dangers at Fleming Park for "many years" and that city and county employees were "negligent in the performance of the most basic and ministerial of duties."

The notice also claims that a ground fault event led to Robinson's electrocution.

The Robinson family claims the county failed to install an appropriate equipment grounding conductor and had multiple opportunities to fix that issue.

In a properly wired system with an equipment grounding conductor that complies with the Building Code and the National Electric Code, a ground fault event will trigger a circuit protection device such as a fuse box or circuit breaker. When triggered the circuit protection device will shut off the power source and eliminate the danger until the ground fault can be fixed," the notice said. "There was no such protection at Fleming Park."

The notice cites at least two incidents in 1991 and 2014 where workers had the chance to address the wiring after two electrical shock incidents injured children.

The notice also claims that the wiring at Fleming Park violated basic electrical code standards.

"The tragic death of this child was unnecessary and preventable," the notice said.

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