Family of Lincoln man who was electrocuted files lawsuit against LES

Zachary Francke died in an August 2018 accident when he cut through a branch that fell on a power line, sparked, and fatally shocked him while in his backyard.

This prompted his family to file a tort claim against Lincoln Electrical Systems (LES). 

In February, LES’s administrative board denied a tort claim that had accused the electrical company of negligence. That decision prompted a lawsuit by Francke’s mother, Terry Blacketer, in Lancaster County District Court.

According to Blacketer’s attorney Eric Brown, the suit alleges the utility and its subcontractor failed to maintained the tree limbs that Francke died clearing.

According to Blacketer, she had called LES in 2015 about a limb that was going to fall on in their power lines. She was told by LES that the limb was her responsibility.

In 2017 she called LES again to report that the limbs have grown very close to the powerlines. This instance LES sent out subcontractor, Asplundh Tree Experts, which declined to trim the tree saying the branches weren’t touching the power line and it was Blacketer’s problem. 

“Defendants have a duty of utmost care to anticipate and guard against events that are reasonably expected to occur and the failure to do so is negligence,” said attorney Eric Brown.

He alleged they had failed to protect individuals such as Francke against the inherent dangers of electricity and powerlines by improperly inspecting and maintaining the area.

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