NATIONAL HARBOR — Following an electrocution incident at MGM National Harbor that left a seven-year-old permanently disabled, the family filed a lawsuit against the resort for the damage caused on Nov. 19.
According to the lawsuit written by attorneys Benedict Morelli, David Sirotkin and Denis Mitchell, the Green-Rosier family are suing for their injuries caused by the negligence of the resort.
When the family took a trip to the MGM National Harbor resort on June 26, what was supposed to be a fun family outing turned into a tragedy when a staircase handrail electrocuted multiple members of the family.
After touching the handrail, which was illuminated by LED lights, seven-year-old Zynae Green was severely electrocuted.
Five-year-old Carlos Green Jr., 16-year-old Monya Rosier were both electrocuted when touching the handrail as well and mother Rydricka Rosier was hurt when trying to help the children.
Carlos, Monya and Rydricka sustained injuries and were hospitalized for days as a result of the incident, but Zynae suffered the most.
The girl ended up going into cardiac arrest as a result of the electrocution, was resuscitated by resort personnel and was then taken to the hospital in critical condition where she stayed for two months. She is now in an acute-care medical facility where she suffers from “severe and permanent neurological injuries,” according to the lawsuit.
“The incident at National Harbor was a tragic accident, and we are all heartbroken that Zynae Green and her family continue to suffer,” the MGM said in a statement after the announcement of the lawsuit. “We are committed to continue working with the family’s representative to reach a resolution.
“In the meantime, we will respond to this lawsuit in the appropriate venue, which is in court.”
The family will now sue through the Prince George’s County Circuit Court for their severe injuries and the negligence on behalf of the MGM National Harbor and the National Harbor Grand LLC as well as their contractor, The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company, and their electrician, Rosendin Electric, Inc.
The lawsuit asserts that the defendants failed in their obligation to ensure that the property was constructed and operated in a way that was safe and in accordance with all safety-related codes.
“Upon information and belief, Defendants intentionally ignored safety codes, regulations and protocols – to the detriment of the hotels” patrons and visitors such as the Plaintiffs in this case – to open the hotel as soon as possible with the focus on immediately making money,” the lawsuit said.
The handrail that the family touched became dangerously electrified due to faulty wiring around the LED lights and, according to the lawsuit, there were 120 volts of electricity going through the handrail at the time the family touched it, which is more than 10 times the amount that should have been powering the lights.
Additionally, the event prompted an investigation by the Department of Permitting, Inspection and Enforcement as well as the State’s Attorney’s Office and Prince George’s Police Department.
The ongoing investigation found that faulty wiring and improper installment of the lights was the cause however, no arrests were made and no other conclusions have been drawn yet.
“That area was remediated, and then the Prince George’s County inspectors came and discovered that area presented no other imminent danger to the public,” said MGM Spokesperson Debra DiShong. “No other electric work has been affected, and that particular area, all of those particular lights are no longer functioning.”
Rosendin Electric, Inc. said in a statement that since the investigation is ongoing, it is too early to tell if the injuries to the Green-Rosier family were a result of negligence on the part of the company.
“As one of the electrical subcontractors on the MGM project, our thoughts continue to be with Zynae Green and her family, and we pray for her full recovery,” they said. “As we have since this incident occurred, we will continue to cooperate with the investigations.”
However, the lawsuit said that the defendants should have known of the defect that made the handrail dangerous saying that the wiring was installed in a “defective, shoddy and reckless manner, in violation of applicable codes.”
The lights were malfunctioning for some time before the incident occurred and security footage of the area showed patrons receiving minor jolts numerous times prior to Zynae’s severe injuries.
“Accordingly, defendants knew or should have known that the LED lights near the subject handrail were out, and should have inspected what was causing this defect,” the attorneys said in the lawsuit. “Had they inspected, defendants would have discovered the electrical defect that was causing the handrail to be dangerously electrified, and this incident would have been prevented.”
Further citing the negligence of the resort, the lawsuit says that the facility was also not equipped with a defibrillator which would have assisted in helping with Zynae’s injuries as soon as the incident happened.
“MGM Resorts hires licensed, reputable construction and inspection companies to perform work that meets or exceeds state and local building codes,” the MGM statement continued. “The findings of faulty wiring contained in a report released by the county show that the high standards that MGM Resorts expects of those contractors were not upheld, which is very disturbing and disappointing. We do not compromise safety when constructing our facilities.”
According to DiShong, the MGM is working with the county to conduct further inspections of the various electrical systems throughout the resort to prevent similar incidents from happening.