The Missouri Supreme Court agreed with a lower court in the dismissal of a lawsuit against Union Electric Co. by a mother whose two children died in a boat dock accident at the Lake of the Ozarks in 2012.
According to the Kansas City Star, Angela Anderson filed a wrongful death lawsuit in 2013 in Morgan County claiming Union Electric Co., which owns the recreational lake, failed to notify dock owners at the Lake of the Ozarks of the need to for electrical protection devices to prevent shocks in case of short circuits.
Anderson’s children, Alexandra Anderson, 14, and Brayden Alexander, 8, died in July 2012 while swimming at the family’s vacation home at the lake when they encountered a stray electrical current, according to her lawsuit. She claimed the children died from “drowning, electrocution, or both” and that Union Electric was negligent, the Star reported.
A county court dismissed the lawsuit, agreeing with a motion from the utility (now Ameren Missouri) seeking dismissal based on its immunity under a state recreational use act, which limits liability for landowners when people use their property free of charge. A Missouri appeals panel reversed the lower court’s decision last year. The Missouri Western District Court of Appeals had found that Ameren Missouri did not have immunity under Missouri's Recreational Use Act from liability for the dock on its lake due to the permit fees that the utility company charges for docks
The high court agreed with the lower court and said the recreational use act, which is intended for “landowners who open their land to the public free of charge for recreational use,” applies in this case.