The family of a Miami teen who was electrocuted inside a Florida Power & Light substation is suing the power company in excess of $15,000.
The lawsuit filed Thursday by the mother of Jesus Meneses states that FPL was well aware of the danger around the Flagami substation and took no additional, preventive safety measures.
Meneses, 17, died Oct. 27 after scaling two fences to retrieve basketballs that had bounced from Flagami’s Kinloch Park into the neighboring substation at 455 NW 47th Ave. Kinloch Park staff members said they heard a loud explosion and noticed a large crowd gathered by a fence next to the power grid.
Meneses’ parents called his death a tragic accident that should never have occurred.
“We lived for him, we did everything for him,” the boy’s mom, Mercedes Meneses, said during a Friday news conference. “My life has changed a thousand times over.”
In the lawsuit, Carlos Silva, Meneses’ attorney, claims that FPL was aware that balls from the park would routinely fly over the fence and into the substation. He said that kids would often scale the chain-link fence, or slip through substantial gaps in the fence, to retrieve their balls from the property.
The suit said that FPL took “no safety measures to improve or enhance the security of its substation perimeter, or to develop ways to deny access and safeguards the person whom the Defendant could reasonably anticipate would be present on its property on a daily basis.”
The lawsuit also alleged that FPL foresaw the significant and potentially deadly risk of having a substation adjacent to Kinloch Park, and that it “failed to maintain its property in a reasonable safe condition.”
FPL said it does not discuss pending litigation and declined to comment. However, at the time of the teen’s death, FPL issued a statement expressing sympathy for the family. The statement said that the fence at the substation “exceeds national safety standards” and that people should avoid contact with such facilities “at all costs.”
Mercedes Meneses said that her son’s death should cost FPL, because the company needs to learn a lesson.
“I am devastated,” she said. “I don’t want any other mother to suffer what I have suffered.”