Premises liability suit blames faulty wiring for child’s tragedy

Sakkas Cahn & Weiss

Shoddy electrical wiring is being blamed for a horrific accident at a Maryland casino that left a child profoundly disabled. The family has filed a premises liability suit against MGM and the building contractors, alleging they cut corners in the rush to open the casino.

A 6-year-old girl suffered a crippling electric shock from a lighted handrail. Two siblings also experienced shock injuries, and their mother sustained strong jolts when she tried to rescue them.

Handrail was electrified, apparently from substandard construction

Zynae Green and her family were gathered near a fountain at the MGM National Harbor casino near Washington, D.C. She was swinging on a lighted handrail which had become energized. Zynae suffered a h4 electric shock and went into cardiac arrest.

She was hospitalized for two months, and six months after the accident still cannot speak or move her limbs. She may require 24-hour care for the rest of her life. Zynae’s 5-year-old brother and 16-year-old sister were also hospitalized for several days from their electrical injuries.

The personal injury lawsuit names the casino company (MGM), the general contractor and the electrical subcontractor company that wired the handrail. Among the allegations, supported in part by court documents:

  • Casino management and the building contractor cut corners to meet a deadline for opening the venue.
  • The wiring did not meet building codes. An independent investigator called it among the worst he’s seen.
  • The handrail was improperly installed, enabling the faulty wiring to contact the metal railing.
  • An electrical inspector on the project said he felt pressured to approve questionable workmanship.
  • Video shows other casino patrons getting shocks from the handrail in the days preceding Zynae’s injury.

This is why we have building codes

Builders sometimes complain that safety codes are too strict or that inspectors are overzealous. Politicians complain that over-regulation hurts businesses or adds to the cost of goods and services.

This tragedy is the perfect illustration of why we have electrical codes, fire codes and other building codes. The accident never should have happened. A little girl’s life will never be the same because of slipshod work and lax enforcement.

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