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Electrical Incident

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ELECTRICAL INCIDENT THAT OCCURRED ON FEBRUARY 5TH, 2014

LOCATION:

LOWE’S HOME CENTER
500 SOUTH MILLS ROAD
VENTURA, CALIFORNIA

SUBMITTED TO:

KRISTINE E. MINNICK
THARPE & HOWELL, LLP
15250 VENTURA BLVD, NINTH FLOOR
SHERMAN OAKS, CALIFORNIA 91403

PERTAINING TO:

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

PREPARED BY:

JOSEPH PERRY, P.E.
JOSEPH PERRY P.E., LLC
PO BOX 141
PENNGROVE, CA 94951

Engineer’s stamp

Table of Contents

1. Introduction —————————————————– Page 1

2. Scope of Investigation —————————————————– Page 2

3. References —————————————————– Page 3

4. Discussion —————————————————– Page 3

5. Conclusions —————————————————– Page 4

6. Curriculum Vitae —————————————————– Page 5-8

 

1. Introduction:

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
shelves.
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 hand, 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.

3. References:

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

4. Discussion:

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
electrocuted him.”

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
bulb”.

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.

5. Conclusions:

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
conclusions:

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.

Joseph Perry Electrical Expert Witness Electrician Contractor EngineerCurriculum Vitae                  June 18, 2013

 

JOSEPH PERRY P.E. JPPE
P.O. Box 141
Penngrove, CA 94951
Mobile: 707‐477‐3862
Email: [email protected]
Website:http://www.JosephPerryPE.com
Personal Statement

33 years’ experience as a Professional Electrical Engineer and Licensed Electrical Contractor
provides an extensive background in Electrical Power and Controls Engineering. I am seeking Expert
Witness Work relating to losses or damages associated with the Water and Wastewater industry,
Industrial Electrical Controls/Processes. I have many years of construction experience in Municipal
Construction Projects and Interpreting Municipal Plans and Specifications and can provide
testimony as to the Standard of Care Provided by Electrical Engineers and Contractors.
Licenses
Professional Electrical Engineer
Licensed Contractor, Electrical, Plumbing,
HVAC

Skills
-SCADA and Telemetering Control & Design
Variable Frequency Motor Control &
Design
-Reduced Voltage Soft Start Control &
Design
-Flow and Blow‐off Control & Design
-Motor Control Center (MCC) Applications

CA# 9683E & HI# E12924
CA# 402494
Estimating, Project Management
Well, Storage Tank, Pumping Control & Design
Cellular and Radio Communications
Critical Load and Standby Generator Applications
Facility Automation, Programmable Logic Control
Energy Monitoring and Control Applications
Standard of Care, Forensic Analysis
Educational Foundation
Healds Engineering College, San Francisco
BS Electrical Engineering (Power and Control Systems Focus) BSEE May 1974

Current Employment
Independent Consulting Electrical Engineer Control Systems West, Inc.
June 2002 – Current.
My primary design duties are to design Power and Controls for Water and Wastewater Pump
Stations and medium size Wastewater Treatment Plant Control Panels. I am the responsible
Electrical Engineer for all Control Systems West, Inc. CA and HI projects that require an Electrical
Engineer’s design approval and engineering stamp. I am 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 am 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.
Reference Contact
Bruce Borders, President
Phone: 707‐763‐1108 x3011 Email: [email protected]

Work History
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 and 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 and Waste Water 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, 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., (CEE)
Nov 1984 – April 1997
We designed and built Facility Automation Systems totaling 7.6 million square feet of municipal,
school, commercial and light industrial building spaces in 15 states. Project makeup was
approximately 36% new & 64% retrofit installations. We Incorporated, programmed, and supported
dedicated technically advanced controllers for HVAC Systems. Our Lighting Control Systems
incorporated Day‐lighting and Time of Day Scheduling. Variable Frequency Drives (VFD) (AFD), 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 advantages 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.
Designed and built Standby Generator Systems (up to 250KW) 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 contracts with 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 was immediately moved to the office environment. I
soon began estimating Electrical Construction Projects and assisted in Contract Administration and
Purchasing materials that were required to complete the successfully bid projects. Our firm was the
Electrical Engineers for several Waste Water Treatment projects and I was responsible for
specifying the Electrical Devices that were to be used and minor design modifications. As time
progressed I began to design Water and Waste Water controls for many Pump Stations and Wells. I
also earned my Electrical Contractors License during this period. The Engineering & Contracting

foundation established at RE Corp afforded me the knowledge, experience and confidence to start
my own Engineering / Contracting business Energy Experts specializing in Control Systems.

Engineering Trainee EIT RE Corp. Inc., DBA Reliance Enterprises
June 1974 – April 1979
My first position at RE Corp placed me in the field for 5 years, this hands-on experience consisted of
troubleshooting and repairing HVAC Equipment and Control Systems, Fire Alarm Systems,
Communication and Electronic Clock Systems at schools and commercial customers. I was also
trained on the repair of Boiler Controls primarily for the commercial and Industrial business sector.
This practical field experience was a stepping stone to a better understanding of Applied
Engineering designed by others and allowed me the opportunity to learn to be a Practical Design
Engineer not just a Theoretical Engineer.

References
Dave Thomas P.E. Peer / Electrical Engineer specializing in the Water/ Waste Water Industry
Phone: 707‐769‐1410
Email: [email protected]
Bruce Borders Owner / Control Systems West Inc.
Phone: 707‐7631108 x 1011
Email: [email protected]
Dan Blanquie Insurance Loss Mitigation Trainer / Friend
Phone: 707‐338‐4003
Email: [email protected]

Membership in Trade Associations
Institute of Electrical Electronic Engineers, (IEEE), my IEEE # 90393171
Senior Member Status
Forensic Expert Witness Association, (FEWA), San Francisco Chapter
Board of Directors, Membership Chair

Contact Me

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3141 Stevens Creek Blvd; Suite 40259 San Jose , CA 95117

707-477-3862