The decedent in this case was electrocuted while installing fiber-optic cable on a utility pole. He was exposed to a 7,200-volt current, producing near-instantaneous loss of consciousness. The decedent was nineteen years old and had been on the job for less than six months. He had no spouse, children, or other dependents. Toxicology results from the autopsy revealed an extremely high concentration of marijuana metabolite in the decedent’s urine.
The decedent’s estate sued the utility company that owned the pole, alleging that code and regulatory violations in the construction, inspection, and maintenance of the utility’s infrastructure contributed to the accident. The utility filed a third-party complaint against the decedent’s employer for breach of an indemnity clause in their pole-attachment contract. The utility argued that the decedent’s own negligence and his employer’s failure to train or supervise him were the primary causes of the accident.
A $1,250,000 settlement was reached through mediation. Financial responsibility for the settlement was shared between the decedent’s employer and the utility company. The estate also received workers’ compensation benefits for funeral and burial expenses.
Laurence H. Margolis, counsel for the plaintiff, provided case information