Royse v. Pacific Gas and Electric Co.

A jury found against a handman who sustained severe, third-degree burns in a workplace accident.

On Aug. 3, 2004, Joseph Royse, then 22, was cleaning gutters with the assistance of a boom lift at a Ferndale ranch. He came into contact with a 12,000-volt power line. Royse, who was in a temporary coma and had undergone 18 procedures by trial, claimed that Pacific Gas & Electric Co. negligently placed power lines near his worksite. He also sued lift maker JLG Industries for defective design and inadequate warnings and lift lessor Darr-B for negligent instruction. JLG denied any design defect regarding the subject boom. PG&E contended that the power line's placement was in compliance with all proper standards and was safe.

Case: Royse v. Pacific Gas and Electric Co., DR050078

Court: Superior Court of Humboldt County, Eureka

Counsel for the plaintiff: William Bragg and Randy Perlman, Bragg, Periman, Russ, Stunich & Eads, Eureka; Gerald McGee, Law Office of Gerald McGee, Eureka

Counsel for the defendant: Michael Morison and Patrik Griego, Janssen, Malloy, Needham, Morrison, Reinholsten, Crowley & Griego, Eureka; James Pincin, Nisson, Pincin & Hill, Redding; Frank Schimaneck, Dryden, Margoles, Shimaneck & Wertz, ALC, San Francisco.

reprinted from The Recorder, September 29, 2009