Confidential Settlement Secured for Electrocution Deaths of Three Family Members From Downed Power Line

CASE DESCRIPTION:

This is an action for wrongful death arising out of the fatal electrocution of Steven V. and Sharon V. from a live, downed power line on January 14, 2011, which occurred at 5465 Acacia Avenue in San Bernardino, California. Steven V. and Sharon V., along with their twenty-one year old son Jonathan C., were fatally injured when a live power line fell into their backyard, caused fires on the property, and electrocuted the V. parents and their eldest son as they attempted to put out the fires and assist one another. This tragic event was witnessed by then seventeen-year old Kayli V., and her ten-year old brother Steven V., Jr. in that both children were within the zone of danger of the electrocutions and additionally perceived the death and injuries of their parents and brother. In fact, Kayli V., in the ten-minute 9-1-1 call to the paramedics, acutely describes the horror she witnessed and her attempts to keep her younger brother away from the gruesome site.

FINAL RESULT:

Confidential

PLAINTIFF’S CONTENTIONS AS TO LIABILITY:

Violation of Standard of Care.

Edison’s electrical poles and lines in and around the incident area were poorly constructed and inadequately maintained per industry and Edison standards.

Sag. In violation of its own standards, and that of the industry, Edison strung its lines at different levels, or “sags”, which allowed its lines to come into contact with one another. This dangerous condition is caused by improper sag in the lines. Instead of following its own and industry standards that require precise measurements of sag in the lines, Edison employees “eyeball” the sag in the line. This routinely leads to inaccurate and improper stringing of the lines. Further, Edison used conductors (wires) ofdifferent weights and materials (some copper, some aluminum, and all different sizes) on the phases, which would cause the lines to move at different rates even if strung correctly. Edison took no definable steps to account for this danger.

Failure of Edison Protective Devices. Edison routinely set its protective devices at levels too high to detect fatal ground currents. It is inconceivable that any downed, live power line would fail to send a signal to the substation, alerting to the danger and opening the circuit. In fact, the downed line did cause a relay back to the substation, which ran three “tests” that detected no problems on the lines.

DEFENDANT’S CONTENTIONS AS TO LIABILITY:

Galloping. Galloping is a condition often associated with long lengths of transmission lines (industrial), and not distribution lines and short spans (residential). Edison argues that a galloping condition caused the lines behind the V. property to move in different directions and come together. This theory is unique in that it is unheard of in residential areas, and usually associated with transmission lines that are frozen and icy during high winds. It is not associated with electromagnetic fields or with distribution lines and short spans.

Aggravated Conduct. Edison contends that this incident was an isolated occurrence stemming from extreme weather conditions. Setting aside the fact that lines are to be constructed in a manner safe for the surrounding conditions, Edison must answer how this “unlikely occurrence” keeps happening and endangering Southern California residents.

TYPE OF CASE:

Wrongful death for Steven V. on behalf of Kayli V. and Steven V. Jr. for the loss of love, comfort and support of their father. Wrongful death action for Sharon V. on behalf of Kayli V. and Steven V. Jr. for the loss of love, comfort and support of their mother. Negligent infliction of emotional distress for Kayli V. and Steven V., Jr. as a result of directly witnessing the catastrophic death of their father, Steven V. and mother, Sharon V.

PLAINTIFF’S INJURIES:

General Damages for the wrongful death of Sharon V., and the wrongful death of Steve V., Kayli V. and Steve V., Jr. have suffered and will suffer in the future by being deprived of the love, companionship, comfort, affection, society, moral support, training and guidance of their parents.

Infliction for emotional distress and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder suffered by both Plaintiffs.

DATE & LOCATION OF INCIDENT:

2011 in San Bernardino, CA

PLAINTIFF’S AGE:

Kayli V., 17 years old and Steven V., Jr. 10 years old

OCCUPATION:

Students

PLAINTIFFS’ ATTORNEY:

WYLIE A. AITKEN

ASHLEIGH E. AITKEN

AITKEN * AITKEN * COHN

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Riverside, CA 92504
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MEDIA COVERAGE:

San Bernardino Sun

http://www.sbsun.com/general-news/20140814/edison-settles-for-245-million-in-san-bernardino-electrocution-sgv-outages

Los Angeles Times

http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jan/15/local/la-me-three-dead-20110115

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