Tree-Trimming Incident Leads to Electrocution
Firm client, a husband and father of three children was on a ladder leaning against a tree performing landscaping services at a Florida residence when a palm frond he was cutting contacted powerline just below. The contact between the palm frond and the power line caused the tree and ladder to become energized with electrical currents flowing from the powerline resulting in severe electrical burns, leading to his untimely death.
In their investigation, Whitman and Fountain proved that the utility company, the utility company’s tree trimming, and arborist contractors, and the landscape architect hired by the homeowners and the vegetation management firm improperly planted the trees too close to the power lines and then failed to properly maintain the lines and clear them of vegetation despite the fact that the tree was identified as a “critical palm” in an inspection conducted before the incident.
Furthermore, the utility company admitted its contractors did not follow all the protocols provided to ensure that the tree would have been removed from the ground or trimmed back far enough to prevent this incident from occurring.
A few days before a jury trial was set to commence Whitman and Fountain resolved the case for a significant confidential settlement.
Despite being a known industry hazard, utility companies neglect to educate the public of the dangers of making “indirect contact” with energized vegetation.