Couple sues CenterPoint after electrical shock leaves husband with major health issues

September 12, 2012 3:38:24 AM PDT
A family in Katy are prisoners in their own home. They say they don't feel safe after a loved one got a strong electric shock while getting out of the shower.

The homeowner says the shock was so intense, he can't remember what happened right after it. Now, the man's family wants answers and is pushing to stop it from ever happening again.

The Katy-area couple hopes a lawsuit filed in civil court sends a strong message. They say their lives, all their way down to the what appliances they can use, have changed ever since the day the husband was injured.

For 50-year-old James Fivash, there is now a before and after in his life.

"I've had pain ever since. My eyes don't ever stop hurting," he said.

A man who once spoke easily now has trouble

"It's frustrating, I forget a lot of things," Fivash said.

The difference, he and his wife say, came in early 2011, just a few days after CenterPoint did work on the electrical box in their backyard responding to a neighbor's power issue. James says he finished up a shower, reached for the faucet and was shocked.

"And I remember it was bad," he said.

He went to the hospital while CenterPoint went to the house. The Fivashes say every outlet, every appliance was fried and the thing is before the shocking, they knew something was wrong.

"Things would dim and then get bright, dim and get bright," James' wife, Debbie Fivash, said.

The couple have now filed a lawsuit, claiming CenterPoint was negligent. CenterPoint declined to respond, citing the pending litigation.

But the company has sent the Fivashes three letters, acknowledging in one that the neutral wire -- important to complete an electrical circuit -- was loose at the time James was shocked. They say it was repaired and deny any liability.

"They're not owning up to what they should be doing," the couple's attorney, Joe Stephens, said.

Stephens believes the entire house must be re-wired, costing tens of thousands of dollars, not to mention James' ongoing health issues.

For now, they've learned to adjust to life without many appliances or electronics and to life after James' incident.

"It's tough for us," Debbie said.

The couple says they complained to CenterPoint about the surging issues in their house before the incident.

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