CLEVELAND, June 13, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- After a two and half week trial in Hamilton County, Ohio (Cincinnati), a jury returned a verdict on June 7, 2017 of nearly $28 million dollars in the wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of the family of a Duke Energy Ohio lineman who died while climbing a utility pole that collapsed and fell due to hidden underground decay.
Keith Jester, age 43, was a senior lineman / trainer who climbed a utility pole with another utility worker when the pole broke below ground and fell on top of Keith, who was strapped to the pole. He survived for one hour and died of internal injuries. The Jester family, represented by Spangenberg Shibley & Liber LLP lawyers Stuart Scott, Jeremy Tor, and Peter Weinberger, brought this wrongful death lawsuit against Utilimap Corporation, a division of Quanta Services.
Utilimap was hired by Duke Energy to inspect 30,000 poles in Southwestern Ohio and as a utility wood pole inspection company, Utilimap was obligated by contract to perform inspections of the poles for the safety of the public and utility workers and for the reliability of the electricity system. The inspection program occurred approximately 28 months before this fatality.
Evidence developed in the case revealed that Utilimap inspectors skipped the pole that failed without notifying Duke Energy. In addition, Utilimap billed and was paid for the skipped pole. Utilimap denied all fault and blamed Keith for his own death. At the end of trial, the jury found Utilimap 100 % negligent in failing to inspect the pole and failing to notify Duke Energy. The jury found no negligence on the part of Keith. Keith is survived by his wife and three children.
The case is proceeding to a punitive damage phase on June 14th before the same jury in the courtroom of Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Timothy Hogan.
Spangenberg Shibley & Liber LLP is a nationally renowned personal injury and medical malpractice law firm that has been fighting on behalf of seriously injured victims and families throughout Ohio and the U.S. since 1946. Over the years, the firm's award-winning attorneys have leveraged decades of experience to secure more than $1 billion in compensation on behalf of clients. To learn more about the firm, visit www.spanglaw.com.
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SOURCE Spangenberg Shibley & Liber LLP