Family of Electrocuted Lifeguard Files Suit
RALEIGH, N.C. (April 10, 2017) – The family of a 17-year-old Raleigh lifeguard who was electrocuted and drowned filed suit today against two electrical companies, saying their substandard work led to her death.
Rachel Rosoff, an Enloe High senior, died Sept. 3 when she entered the Heritage Point Community Pool and was electrocuted.
The lawsuit, filed today in Wake County Superior Court by Rachel’s parents, names Williams Electric Motor Repair, Inc., and Future Connections Electrical Inc. as defendants.
Rachel was electrocuted when the swimming pool’s pump motor failed and a corroded wire prevented a circuit breaker from tripping.
The suit alleges that Williams Electric performed electrical work at the pool in June 2011 that violated the National Electrical Code, and those substandard repairs eventually led to Rachel’s death. The suit says the wiring at the pool was aluminum wiring installed in 1979 and buried directly in the ground, where it had been deteriorating. The installation work Williams Electric did in 2011 required that the wiring be replaced, but the company failed to do so, the suit says.
The suit also says that Williams Electric failed to obtain a permit for the work it did, or to have the work inspected, which were both required by law.
In July 2015, defendant Future Connections installed the wrong size capacitor in the pool’s pump motor, causing the motor to overheat and fail on the day Rachel was electrocuted, leading to her death, the suit says. Future Connections also found safety hazards at the pool it should have reported, but failed to do so, the plaintiffs say.
The suit was filed by attorneys David Kirby of Edwards Kirby in Raleigh and Adam Neijna, of the Law Offices of Adam Neijna, also in Raleigh, on Rachel’s 18th birthday.
“What happened to Rachel could just as easily have happened when the pool was filled with children,” Kirby said. “We need to ensure that this tragedy is never repeated.”
Rachel’s family is lobbying for annual electrical inspections for public pools, noting that no electrical inspection was required for the Heritage Point community pool since it was built in 1979.
Rachel received an electrical shock when she entered the water. The amount of electricity wasn’t enough to kill her, but it was enough “to cause her muscles to contract and paralyze her, making her escape from the water impossible,” the suit says. “While Rachel was completely aware of her circumstances, she was unable to move her arms and legs, was without any ability to save herself, and she consciously drowned.”
The suit also names William R. Clifton Jr., a licensed electrical contractor for Williams Electric, as a defendant.
Rachel is the daughter of Michelle Rosoff, a licensed clinical social worker, and Jay Rossoff, president of J.R. Sales Corp.