slowly than expected. [Trial Testimony of O'Ferrall, Tr.
611:9-11] This was not unusual. Often particular segments of the project
took longer than anticipated, and the Navy personnel understood this as
part of the construction process. [Trial Testimony of Jankowski, Tr.
On the Friday before the accident, McAsey and O'Ferrall came across red
concrete in the area of demolition. O'Ferrall said that it was standard
operating procedure to notify the Navy, but they assumed that the red
paint was for the old high voltage lines they had just pulled out of the
ground. [Trial testimony of O'Ferrall, 618:21-619:9]
At the end of the work day on Friday, at least four Dillingham
employees concluded that it would be necessary to chip away more of the
concrete around the conduit. O'Ferrall, McAsey, Swedberg, and Paul Cruz
(Dillingham's Quality Control Manager) agreed to continue digging on
Monday, June 14, 1999. They left the work site together and locked the
gates behind them. [Trial testimony of O'Ferrall, 617:2-7] They were
aware that there was no outage scheduled for Monday, but they had been
advised by the Navy that the work area would not have any electrical
power running through it. (Undisputed Facts, Tr. 614:20-617:4)
Swedberg testified that he didn't notify Coppinger in person that they
would be returning on Monday to complete the work, because Coppinger
wasn't at the work site. [Tr. 183:15-20] O'Ferrall testified that when he
and McAsey left work on Friday afternoon that Swedberg and Paul Cruz
walked out behind them and locked the gates. [Tr. 617:2-8] Swedberg left
a telephone message for Coppinger stating that the workers would return
the following Monday. [Trial Testimony of Chris Coppinger, Page
581:12-582:4; Trial Testimony of Dale Swedberg, Pages 135:12-136:7]
Sometime after the Dillingham workers finished for the day Coppinger
returned to the area to re-energize the substation with the feeder. He
testified that he first checked with the remaining Dillingham employees
and asked them whether they were finished with their work, and they
assured him that they were. No one told him about any change in plans for
the following Monday. However, Coppinger could not identify the person he
spoke to. [Tr. 544:4-22] Coppinger re-energized the 21kv line (C-1) on
Friday, June 11, 1999, after the Dillingham workers had left the work
site. [Trial Testimony of Chris Coppinger, Page 562:20-24]
The court finds it unlikely that Coppinger spoke with any Dillingham
employees about the status of the work at the end of the day on Friday.
Both Swedberg and O'Ferrall testified that they, along with Cruz and
McAsey, were the last ones to leave the work site and that they locked
the gates behind them. Swedberg testified that he didn't tell Coppinger
in person on Friday that they would be returning to work on Monday
because Coppinger wasn't at the site. Coppinger's vagueness about these
events and who he talked to make it even more likely that his
recollection is inaccurate.
No one from Dillingham expected that on Monday there would be any
electricity coming from switch box number one to transformer pad number
one even though the 21kv (C-1) line had been re-energized on Friday, June
11, 1999. [Plaintiffs' Trial Exhibits 17, 35, 36 and 74; Trial Testimony
of Dale Swedberg, Page 140:14-20; Trial Testimony of Chris Coppinger,
Page 556:11-557:7; Trial Testimony of Thomas O'Ferrall Pages
Nevertheless, Dillingham instructed the workers on Monday to treat the
area as hot Dusty O'Ferrall testified as follows:
Q: Before you and Bob started working that morning on
June 14th, Mr.
Swedberg told you to treat the area as hot again?
A: Yes. The area was hot.