Third federal lawsuit filed about Aberdeen electric services

By Patsy Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

ABERDEEN – An aggrieved city electric customer wants damages for mental and physical ailments she claims she suffered from her utility services being cut off.
Last week, Mary V. Wilson of 302 N. Matubba St., Aberdeen, says she was denied her property rights without due process of law, a guarantee of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
In her four-page lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, Wilson states that during 2007 her utility bills became “so substantial” that she realized there must be something wrong with the city’s billing method. She says she was told by a city “agent” that Aberdeen employees were billing her twice.
Wilson, a diabetic, claims she protested, was treated rudely and never got an explanation about her sizable bills.
In her lawsuit, she claims “certain favored people” were allowed not to pay their bills. The city’s Electric Department has been the focus of recent criticism and state and federal investigations related to its operation and billing inconsistencies.
Wilson’s claims are just one side of the story. The city has not yet responded to her accusations.
From August through mid-November of 2007, Wilson’s utility service was cut off, and although fellow residents raised enough money to convince authorities to turn on her service, she says, the damage allegedly was done – mental anxiety and stress and physical ailments.
She asks for actual damages a jury determines will compensate her for what she’s suffered.
Wilson is represented by Tupelo attorneys Jim Waide and Shane McLaughlin.
The case was assigned to U.S. District Chief Judge Michael P. Mills and Magistrate Judge Jerry A. Davis.
Two other similar lawsuits have been filed against the city of Aberdeen in federal court in the past year.
One complaint accuses the city and officials Adrian Garth, Cloyd Garth, Willie Cook, Alonzo Sykes Sr. and two surety companies of forcing white residents to pay large, unsubstantiated utility bills while allowing certain favored black residents to get service free or delay payment.
Defendants have denied the accusations. Those cases are scheduled for trial in August.

Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or patsy.brumfield@djournal.com.