The Outcome: The evidence at the week-long trial showed that, while trimming the tree, the landscaper suffered an electrical shock, was stunned, and fell approximately 25 feet from the ladder he was working on. The jury determined that SCE&G was negligent in failing to keep its power line clear from adjacent trees and vegetation, and that the landscaper died as a result of his chainsaw contacting a tree branch that was touching SCE&G’s 13,800-volt overhead power line. Prior to trial, the power company refused to offer anything close to fair compensation for the family’s loss. This was the largest jury verdict in the history of Colleton County, South Carolina.
*This unanimous jury verdict was reduced to $18,900,000 based on a finding that the plaintiff was 10% comparatively negligent. Following the verdict, the trial judge granted the defendant’s motion for a new trial.