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Dobson v. Louisiana Power & Light Co.

Louisiana Supreme Court
567 So.2d 569 (1990)


Facts

Dwane Dobson, a commercial tree trimmer, died after being electrocuted when his metallically reinforced safety rope contacted an uninsulated 8,000 volt, electric-power distribution line. Dobson’s wife, Teri (plaintiff), filed a wrongful death suit against Louisiana Power & Light Company (LP&L) (defendant). At trial, evidence was presented to show that Dwane may have been partly responsible for his own death. Nevertheless, the trial court awarded Teri over $1 million in damages after finding Dwane free from fault and holding LP&L liable for failure to: (1) maintain its right of way, (2) insulate the high voltage distribution line, and (3) give proper warnings of the power line’s dangerous nature. LP&L appealed. The court of appeals affirmed the judgment of the trial court but reduced Teri's recovery by 70 percent based on a finding that Dwane had been partly at fault. The Louisiana Supreme Court granted certiorari to review.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Dennis, J.)

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