NEW ORLEANS -- A New Orleans opera singer is suing Cox Communications, claiming a low hanging cable line injured his vocal cords.
Guy Tem is classically trained. His baritone voice has appeared in a long list of New Orleans Opera Association performances including La Traviata, Pagliacci and Madama Butterfly.
"To be a solo performer, you have to hit all the high notes and all the low notes and every one in between," said Tem's attorney Douglas Schmidt.
Tem claims he can no longer hit the notes. Schmidt said last December, Tem was riding his bike on First Street near Tchoupitoulas in the Irish Channel Neighborhood when he was suddenly clotheslined by a low hanging Cox cable wire.
"It hit him. It hit him in his vocal cords, knocked him off the bike and he sustained severe injuries to his vocal cords, muscles and nerves," said Schmidt.
Tem is now suing Cox and businesses where the cable was supposed to be hung correctly.
According to the lawsuit, filed in Orleans Parish Civil District Court, Tem sought treatment with a doctor who specializes in treating professional singers and was told he suffered permanent damage to his vocal cords.
"He can't sing now," said Schmidt. "He's lost a number of students because he can't teach as well."
Cox Communications VP of Public and Governmental Affairs Steve Sawyer told Eyewitness News, "Cox was served with this lawsuit, yesterday. We are now conducting our own internal investigation into the claims."
The suit does not give a dollar figure, but Tem is claiming permanent injury, loss of earning capacity and negligence.
Irish Channel neighbors complain that low hanging cables are a big problem on First Street. They say large trucks from nearby businesses pull down the wires.