PSE responds to wrongful death suit of Bonney Lake teen

In Aug. 2014, Bonney Lake High School student Madeline Roskie, 18, was inner-tubing with her boyfriend when she suddenly fell unconscious in the Puyallup River. East Pierce Fire and Rescue pronounced her dead at the scene when they arrived. Puget Sound Energy has responded to the wrongful death suit filed last August.

Puget Sound Energy has responded to a wrongful death suit filed against the company for the death of a Bonney Lake teenager.

In Aug. 2014, Bonney Lake High School student Madeline Roskie, 18, was inner-tubing with her boyfriend when she suddenly fell unconscious in the Puyallup River. East Pierce Fire and Rescue pronounced her dead at the scene when they arrived.

The wrongful death suit, filed by her father Earl Roskie on Aug. 1, 2017, alleges PSE and four unknown people were negligent in maintaining a nearby irrigation pump, where technicians found a 280V to ground issue, which led to Roskie’s death.

PSE’s response was filed with the Pierce County Superior Court on Oct. 6, and asks the court to dismiss the case.

The company argues the case should be dismissed because Roskie’s death, as shown on her official death certificate, “is not ‘electrocution’ or anything remotely similar. It is ‘undetermined,’” the response reads. “The death certificate indicates that an autopsy was performed and that the findings were available to complete the cause of death determination…. Still, the cause of death was not something that could be determined.”

PSE points to RCW 70.58.180, which states the cause of death, as noted by a professional and written on a death certificate “shall be the legally accepted cause of death.”

“The language used in (Roskie’s) death certificate must be applied as written, and cannot be contested after the fact by Plaintiff in this wrongful death action,” PSE’s response reads. “And because the cause of death has been conclusively been deemed to be ‘undetermined,’ no liability could attach to Defendant PSE. Plaintiff’s claims should be dismissed accordingly.”

While Roskie’s death certificate does state her cause of death as undetermined, East Pierce and the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office discussed whether electrocution could have been a factor during the investigation after her death.

In Earl Roskie’s original complaint, Roskie complained of her legs going numb before falling unconscious, and her boyfriend also experience a “tingling sensation in his fingers.”

In an Aug. 25, 2014 email conversation between East Pierce Assistant Chief Russ McCallion and Matt Lacy, a former associate medical examiner for Pierce County, Lacy wrote Roskie’s autopsy results were “inconclusive as to an anatomic cause of death… I would not expect an electrocution that involved a diffuse contact, such as through water, to leave any physical signature on the body. Based on your email, I am very concerned that an electrical hazard in or near the water at that location may have caused this girl’s death.”

A few days later, Assistant Chief Ed Goodlet updated Lacy, saying a technician did find a 280V to ground issue at the pump, and “this is a bit more significant that what I was told before as being less than an electric fence, but he has no idea how much voltage could be going into the river nor how much of the river could be impacted.”

Goodlet announced to the department that all issues were fixed Aug. 28, 2014.

The hearing on PSE’s motion to dismiss the case is scheduled to be heard Dec. 8.

PSE's motion to dimiss lawsuit by Ray Still on Scribd

More in News

Pamphlets, primary ballots headed for voters’ hands

The first round of election materials are scheduled to hit the mail July 12 in Pierce County and July 17 in King County.

Buckley discusses potential 83 unit apartment complex development

The conversation is taken its very first steps. But the direction council members decide to head will likely affect Buckley’s future for years to come.

Animals, rides, food… and technology, all at the King County Fair | King County

This year the kid’s area has been expanded from previous years and there is a new teen-focused technology game that will allow teens (and all fairgoers) to tour the Fair.

Survey seeks information from 410 travelers

Here’s your chance to tell the Department of Transportation how you think traffic can be improved on the highway.

Group moving ahead with plans for Mount Peak tower

The Mount Peak Historical Fire Lookout Association may have to shift where the tower would be placed, and the cost is estimated at $450,000.

Dump truck crashes into Alderton store

Two were injured, one airlifted to hospital.

Local woman finishes 62-mile historical pilgrimage

After an accident in 2015, Becky Rush-Peet is grateful to be alive.

Medics find motorcycle crash victim after location issues | East Pierce Fire and Rescue

The man was using his cell to contact his wife; after hanging up and calling 911, first responders were able to use GPS to narrow their search.

Most Read