RIVERSIDE, Ca. (July 8, 2015)- A Riverside jury found private utility company Southern California Edison responsible for the death of a farmworker electrocuted while working in a grapefruit orchard. It took the jury one day to reach its verdict yesterday in a trial that lasted 6 weeks in Riverside Superior Court.
On July 9, 2010 31-year-old Pablo Padilla Ayala was using a ladder to pick fruit off the trees when he struck Edison’s low hanging high-voltage electric power lines. The plaintiffs’ lawyers argued Edison’s power lines violated safety standards by maintaining electrical lines too close to the trees and several feet below the minimum requirement of 25 feet high.
Lead trial attorney, Robert Jarchi a partner with the Santa Monica law firm, Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP represents the widow, Maura Cabrera Diaz, the couple’s two children and the decedent’s brother, who witnessed the accident.
“This verdict sends a strong message to Edison and other public utilities that power line safety is more than just a slogan on a billboard. When a company violates its own safety codes, people’s lives are put at risk,” said Robert Jarchi.
Mr. Jarchi, along with second chair counsel, Molly McKibben, argued Edison failed to maintain adequate clearance of the power lines so that workers such as decedent Mr. Ayala would come into contact with the high voltage lines and become electrocuted.
“There’s no amount of money that can compensate the loss of a husband and father but the family hopes this outcome will ensure Edison makes safety changes to prevent this type of accident from happening again,” said Mr. Jarchi.
Contact: Gina Kaysen Fernandes