A verdict was reached earlier this week after a three week civil trial and a two day deliberation. A Superior Court jury in downtown Los Angeles sided with Simona Wilson, awarding her close to $4 million in the judgment.
The jury found Southern California Edison (SCE), the electric company and prior owner of Wilson’s Redondo Beach, California residence, negligent and reckless. SCE was ordered to pay $1.05 million in compensatory damages and $3 million in punitive damages to Wilson.
The home mentioned in the lawsuit was initially constructed in 1960 by the utility. The home was used to house employees who worked at the nearby Topaz power substation. Wilson, a mother of three young boys, purchased the home on Knob Hill Avenue next to the Edison (Topaz) substation in 2007.
In March 2011, Wilson sustained injuries after been repeatedly shocked (electrocuted) in her shower. Allegedly stray electricity had surged from the substation behind her home and pulsed through a newly-installed showerhead.
Wilson has since been to the hospital numerous times for related treatment and suffers from painful nerve damage in her hands and feet. Doctors have been unable to directly link the stray electricity to Wilson’s alleged injuries.
SCE stated there was nothing to substantiate the claims the substation was the culprit. They further argued a failure to uncover any electrical problems when they tested the area.
However, separate tests performed by a home inspector revealed 26 separate points in the home were electrified, including nearly all plumbing fixtures and most appliances. The results were shocking to the inspector who indicated he’d never seen anything like it. Wilson eventually lost the house to foreclosure in February.
Residents in the area have complained about electricity emitting from overhead power lines and from the substation. Several have reported hearing crackling sounds coming from overhead wires and snaps of electricity when residents touched their mailboxes. Many believed the electrical current emitted from the substation traveled through subterranean gas pipes.
SCE officials insist the company worked with Wilson to resolve any issues with stray electricity. SCE’s legal team is considering whether to appeal the case.
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