ELECTRICAL INCIDENT THAT OCCURRED ON FEBRUARY 5TH, 2014
ELECTRICAL INCIDENT THAT OCCURRED ON FEBRUARY 5TH, 2014
LOWE’S HOME CENTER
500 SOUTH MILLS ROAD
KRISTINE E. MINNICK
THARPE & HOWELL, LLP
15250 VENTURA BLVD, NINTH FLOOR
SHERMAN OAKS, CALIFORNIA 91403
RICHARD APODACA VS. LOWE’S HOME CENTERS, LLC, ET AL
CASE NO. 56-2016-00477981
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA – WESTERN DIVISION
JOSEPH PERRY, P.E.
JOSEPH PERRY P.E., LLC
PO BOX 141
PENNGROVE, CA 94951
Table of Contents
1. Introduction —————————————————– Page 3
2. Scope of Investigation —————————————————– Page 4
3. References —————————————————– Page 4
4. Discussion —————————————————– Page 5
5. Conclusions —————————————————– Page 6
6. Curriculum Vitae —————————————————– Page 7-10
7. Cases during the previous 4 years at Trial or Deposition——— Page 11
8. Statement of Compensation ———————————————— Page 11
9. Reference Documents —————————————————– Page 12- 47
A. (Security Video Main Entrance_2.5.2014.12.0.15_2.5.2014.12.0.30)
a. Mr. Apodaca, wearing a baseball hat, is seen entering the Lowes store carrying what
appears to be a four-foot fluorescent lamp in his left hand.
B. (Security Video SCO PVM 1_2.5.2014.12.5.15_2.5.2014.12.28.0)
a. Mr. Apodaca is seen in the aisle carrying the lamp in his right hand, I can see that he
moves up and down the aisle looking at what is on the shelves.
b. Mr. Apodaca changes holding the lamp in his right to left hand and back to the right
hand just before reaching up above his head with his left hand. Immediately, he can
be seen to move quickly back approximately 1 to 2 feet towards the opposite
c. Mr. Apodaca is no longer holding a lamp and a white dust/glass is seen on the floor.
Mr. Apodaca begins to move in erratic fashion forward and back, spinning around
and walking to the end of the aisle. Shortly after, Mr. Apodaca is seen holding his left
forearm with his right hand.
d. In the deposition, Mr. Apodaca states that he fell back, hit his head on the shelving,
and cut his head. In the video, at no time did I see Mr. Apodaca fall to the floor or hit
his head on the shelving.
e. Looking at the Videos, Main Entrance_2.5.2014.13.28.20_2.5.2014.13.33.0 and CS
Term 18_2.5.2014.13.27.47_2.5.2014.13.33.0, no blood can be seen on Mr.
Apodaca’s hat, however he did hold his left hand across his stomach the whole time
while standing and waiting in these videos.
2. Scope of Investigation:
My specific assignment was to review the following items,
four Lowe’s Store Surveillance Videos a through d
a. Main Entrance_2.5.2014.13.28.20_2.5.2014.13.33.0
b. Main Entrance_2.5.2014.12.0.15_2.5.2014.12.0.30
c. CS Term 18_2.5.2014.13.27.47_2.5.2014.13.33.0
d. SCO PVM 1_2.5.2014.12.5.15_2.5.2014.12.28.0
e. Deposition of Ricard Apodaca dated May 18, 2016
f. Plaintiff Richard Apodaca responses to form interrogatories
g. Incident Report and Employee Statements (Lowe’s)
h. Ballast cut sheets
i. Ballast Underwriters Laboratory (UL) listing
j. Lamp holder cut sheets and UL listing
k. Fluorescent fixture cut sheet and UL listing
In addition to reviewing the above items, I:
l. Visited the site, examined the fixture that was involved in the incident.
m. Examined the present configuration of the relocated lighting display.
n. Interviewed the Lighting Department Manager.
o. Performed voltage tests on an identical fixture and ballast.
p. Performed destructive testing to determine the voltage to ground at the lamp holder to
see if I could recreate burn marks on the test fixture similar to the fixture that was
involved in the incident.
My investigation was undertaken to determine if it was more likely than not that Mr. Apodaca could have received a shock from the lighting fixture on display and the cause if any.
Exhibit A, Incident Report and Employee Statements (Lowe’s), 6 pages
Exhibit B, Ballast cut sheet and Underwriters Laboratory (UL) listing, 6 pages
Exhibit C, Lamp Holders cut sheet and UL listing, 3 pages
Exhibit D, Fluorescent fixture cut sheet and UL listing, 3 pages
Exhibit E, Voltage test results of ballast open circuit voltages, 2 pages
Exhibit F, Picture of burn marks on the incident fixture’s lamp holder, 1 page
Exhibit G, Picture of new lamp holder of test fixture, 1 page
Exhibit H, Picture of burn marks recreated on the test fixture, 1page
Exhibit I, Video taken during test of test fixture and lamp pull out, 4 frames on 4 pages
Exhibit A, the employee statements were completed by employees who interfaced with Mr. Apodaca on the day of the incident. I value these statements because I consider all to be eyewitness reports, accurate and true.
Page 1 of 6: item 5, “Customer was pulling on the contact points of the lighting fixture
the(n) the elec(tric) arced and it shocked him.”
Page 2 of 6: “He (Mr. Apodaca) continued to keep saying ouch and hold his left
forearm. I asked if it had fallen on him and he said he was touching the display when it
Page 3 of 6: “Customer stated he pulled back the plastic shield near where the pins
plug in on the light fixture and got a shock which threw him back causing him to drop his fluorescent tube.”
Page 4 of 6: “Customer let me know he shoked (shocked) himself on the display
Page 5 of 5: “The man told me that he wanted to check and see what type of pin was on our display fixture. He went and showed me how he grabbed it and where he grab(b)ed it was right where the bulb connects to the fixture.”
Page 6 of 6: “I ended up going back to the guy and looking at his hand he had no
marks on his hand.”
Exhibits B, C & D confirm that the ballast, lamp holders and assembled fixture, are UL Approved individually and in an assembly. UL is known for its electrical testing and safety standards in the United States.
Exhibit E, using a true RMS Volt Meter, the voltage measured from the lamp holder (lamp socket) to the grounded fixture was measured to be 355.2 volts. The ballast marking stated OCV 600V, which is the nominal voltage from lamp holder to lamp holder. This voltage was measured to be 628.1 volts; therefore, it is correctly marked.
Exhibit F, the incident fixture had unexplainable burn marks on one lamp holder.
Exhibit G, a new lamp holder before destructive testing.
Exhibit H, I duplicated the burn marks on the test fixture lamp holder. When the fixture was energized and the lamps were inserted in the lamp holders and were on, I pulled a lamp slightly out of the socket. There was an arc that was created that burned the plastic lamp holder. During this time, there was a buzzing sound and the smell of burned plastic.
Exhibit I, Video taken during test of test fixture and lamp pullout shows the arc that is caused by the 628.1 volts measured between the lamp holders.
Based on the facts of the case that I reviewed and the electrical tests I conducted on the
test fixture and, to a reasonable degree of engineering certainty, I have the following
a. The fixture assembly in question was reasonably safe in construction, being a UL Approved assembly.
b. The fixture assembly in question was installed on a wire frame that was grounded by virtue of the fixtures on display being grounded. Each fixture on display is hung in place by two metal clips that tightly grab the wire frame, which provides additional grounding of the fixture display.
c. I conducted several continuity tests of the display while onsite: I measured fixture to fixture, fixtures to the wire frame supporting the fixtures, and wire frame to the shelving, racking and supports. All metal surfaces near the fixtures are contiguous and grounded.
d. If a fixture on display had been defective, and came in contact with the metal surface of the racking, the circuit breaker that supplies the power would trip and turn off the voltage to the defective fixture due to the grounded display system. The defective fixture would be off and safe to touch. Therefore, the fixture was not defective
e. I believe that Mr. Apodaca was shocked by the arc created when he pulled back on the energized lamp/lamp holder to see the style of pins that the lamp had. This conclusion is supported by the statements of the employees that were noted on the day of the incident. Therefore, Mr. Apodaca actions caused the shock to occur. Mr. Apodaca received up to 355.2 volts of electricity from his fingers to his forearm.
f. I believe that Mr. Apodaca reached above his head towards the fixture that was just at the extent of his reach resting his forearm on the wire racking that supported the display fixtures. Mr. Apodaca created a ground path between his forearm to his hand that contacted the arc that was created when he pulled back on the lamp/lamp holder to see the style of pins that the lamp had. Therefore, Mr. Apodaca actions caused the shock to occur. Mr. Apodaca received up to 355.2 volts of electricity from his fingers to his forearm.
November 14, 2016
JOSEPH PERRY P.E. JPPE
P.O. Box 141
Penngrove, CA 94951
38 years’ experience as a Professional Electrical Engineer and Licensed Electrical Contractor provides an extensive background in electrical power and controls engineering. I can provide expert witness services relating to electrical construction defects, losses or damages associated with personal injury due to electrical accidents, electrical controls, for water/wastewater, pump station, tank, or treatment plants and related causes of sewage spills or tank over filling causing flooding. I also provide expert witness services for Standards of Care by Electrical Engineers and Contractors. I have many years of construction experience including industrial electrical construction, municipal construction, and interpreting municipal plans and specifications.
Licenses and Certifications
Professional Electrical Engineer Licensed Contractor, Electrical, Plumbing, HVAC Certified Forensic Litigation Consultant (FEWA)
CA# E9683 & HI# E12924
CA# 402494 (inactive)
Certificate # 018
SCADA, Telemetering Supervisory Control
Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) Motor Control
Reduced Voltage Soft Start (RVSS) Motor Control Flow and Blow-off, Controls Design
Motor Control Center (MCC), and NEC compliance Electrical Estimating, Project Management
Well, Storage Tank, Pumping Control and Design Cellular and Radio Communication Networks Critical Load and Standby Generator Applications Facility Automation, Programmable Logic Controllers UL508A & UL698 Industrial Control Panel Standards Standard of Care, Forensic Analysis, Product Liability
Healds Engineering College, San Francisco
BSEE Electrical Engineering (Power and Control Systems Focus)
Electrical Design and Forensic Engineer Joseph Perry P.E., LLC July 2016 – Present
My primary duties are to provide electrical design, review and approval of electrical construction projects for electrical contractors and architects. I provide Electrical Forensic engineering review and litigation support to law firms and insurance carriers for electrical construction defects, electrical products liability, and electrical accidents cases. I have 20 plus years of experience with the design and application of Underwriters Laboratory UL 508A and UL698 standards as they relate to industrial control panels for the water/wastewater industry. I have extensive National Electrical Code and California Electrical Code compliance understanding as they relate to electrical construction projects.
Engineering and Design Manager MCC Control Systems, 3/2016 acquired by SJE Rhombus, PRIMEX August 2014 – July 2016
While managing the Engineering Design and Drafting team, I was also responsible for the design of power and control panels for water/wastewater pump stations, medium size wastewater treatment plant control panels and Motor Control Centers. Designs included PLC and Motor Control Centers and chemical monitoring systems. I was the responsible Electrical Engineer for all MCC Control Systems California projects that require an electrical engineer’s design approval and engineering stamp.
Adam Vesely, President
Phone: 707-449-0341 Email: Adam.Vesely@primexcontrols.com
Independent Consulting Electrical Engineer Control Systems West, Inc.
June 2002 – August 2014.
My primary design duties were to design power and controls for water/wastewater pump stations and medium size wastewater treatment plant control panels. I was the responsible Electrical Engineer for all Control Systems West, Inc. California and Hawaii projects that require an electrical engineer’s design approval and engineering stamp. I was the Contract Administrator for most of the Control Systems West, Inc. contracts to provide control panels, which are used by municipalities in California and Hawaii. I was the primary contact for Underwriters Laboratory (UL) certification of Industrial Control Panels (UL508A and UL698) that are designed and built at Control Systems West, Inc.
Bruce Borders, President
Phone: 707-763-1108 x3011 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Owner California Energy Experts, June 2001 – June 2002
I was an independent Engineering Consultant and Electrical Contractor for the City of Cotati Department of Public Works water/wastewater pump stations. Also, I worked for various clients performing electrical contracting services. Working with Control Systems West, Inc. with its established volume of business,
offered a superb opportunity to utilize my engineering design talents in the design of industrial control panels dedicated to the water/wastewater industry.
Investment Broker Edward Jones Investments, June 1998 – June 2001
After passing the Securities and Exchange Commission, Series 7 license, I opened an Edward Jones Investment office in Rohnert Park, CA. I serviced my clients by selling stocks, mutual funds, bonds, annuities, life and long term care insurance. I enjoyed helping my clients establish a safe and secure financial future. I enjoyed the sales aspect of the business, however this business was much too distant from the finite business of engineering that I love.
Outside Sales Cal Air, Inc. April 1997 – May 1998
Outside sales of Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Services. Cal Air purchased my previous Electrical Engineering; Electrical, HVAC, and Plumbing contracting business. I agreed to stay on in the sales capacity for one year to expand their presence in the Sonoma County area and provide continuity with our existing client base. Cal Air was a business consolidator, purchasing contractor shops in the Energy Management and HVAC industry.
President California Energy Experts, Inc. Nov 1984 – April 1997
We designed and built Facility Automation Systems (FAS) totaling 7.6 million square feet of municipal, school, commercial and light industrial building spaces in 15 states. Project makeup was approximately 36% new and 64% retrofit installations. We incorporated, programmed, and supported dedicated technically advanced controllers for HVAC Systems. Our Lighting Control Systems incorporated daylighting
and time of day scheduling. Variable Frequency Drives (VFD), were used on cooling towers, pumps, supply and return fans to enhance the energy efficiency of HVAC systems, economizer damper positioning and monitoring were an integral part of our control designs which led to further energy reductions. Demand control routines were incorporated in the designs when there was an advantage to the customer. All systems included remote communication abilities to allow offsite monitoring and minor software revisions. We expanded our company’s expertise by bidding and installing well, water/wastewater, flood control, power and control systems. We designed and built Standby Generator Systems (up to 250 KW), including single and multiple transfer switches and isolation of critical/non-critical loads. We incorporated peak shaving strategies into the design when applicable. California Energy Experts was expanded by incorporating HVAC and plumbing contracting under our umbrella. California Energy Experts was sold to Cal Air, Inc. which provided me an opportunity to explore Outside Sales without the stress of running the day-to-day business of the engineering / contracting business.
Owner Energy Experts, May 1982 – Nov 1984
When Energy Experts was formed, my goal was to design and install control systems dedicated to energy management in commercial buildings; utilizing the most recent computerized advancements in HVAC and Lighting Controls. I began by selling the concept to businessmen in our county, then designing and installing the control system. After landing Energy Management System design and installation contractswith a major department store chain, Energy Experts quickly grew and earned the respect of the Facilities Managers for this chain. As the company volume grew, Energy Experts was incorporated and renamed to California Energy Experts, Inc.
Electrical Engineer P.E. RE Corp. Inc., DBA Reliance Enterprises, April 1979 –April 1982
After obtaining Professional Engineer status, I began estimating electrical construction projects and assisted in contract administration and purchasing materials that were required to complete successfully bid projects. Our firm was the electrical engineers for several wastewater treatment projects and I was responsible for specifying the electrical devices that were to be used and minor design modifications as required. As time progressed I began to design water/wastewater controls for many pump stations and wells. I also earned my Electrical Contractors’ License during this period. The Engineering and Contracting foundation established at RE Corp afforded me the knowledge, experience and confidence to start my own engineering / contracting business, Energy Experts specializing in energy management and control systems.
Todd Beecher P.E. Peer/ Electrical Engineer specializing in the Water/Wastewater Industry
Phone: 541-957-9175 cell 541-580-8300
Adam Vesely President / MCC Control Systems
Dan Blanquie Insurance Loss Mitigation Trainer / Friend
Membership in Trade Associations
Institute of Electrical Electronic Engineers, (IEEE), my IEEE # 90393171
Senior Member Status: Less than 8% of all IEEE Members are Senior Members.
Forensic Expert Witness Association, (FEWA), Northern California Chapter
Board of Directors Member 3 years, 2016 National Conference Co-Chairman, Past Assistant to the Chapter Secretary, and Membership Chairman, 2017 President Elect.
Cases during the previous 4 years at Trial or Deposition where I testified as an expert:
The People of the State of California v. Ryan Maeda, et al.
Superior Court of the State of California
County of Napa Case No. CR 160492
Statement of Compensation:
My hourly fee for review of documents and records, analysis, conferences, and preparation of reports is $300/hour. My fee for deposition testimony is $500/hour.
Incident Report and Employee Statement (Lowe’s), 6 pages
Ballast cut sheet and Underwriters Laboratory (UL) listing, 6 pages
Lamp Holders cut sheet and UL listing, 3 pages