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Levi v. Southwest Louisiana Electric Membership Cooperative (Slemco)

542 So. 2d 1081 (1989)

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Levi v. Southwest Louisiana Electric Membership Cooperative (Slemco)

Louisiana Supreme Court

542 So. 2d 1081 (1989)

Facts

Southwest Louisiana Electric Membership Cooperative (Slemco) (defendant) constructed and operated an uninsulated electrical line that served wells in an Amoco oilfield. The line was routed to avoid being suspended across any access road or close to any well except for the E.C. Stuart # 2 well (Stuart well). Giovanni Levi (plaintiff) worked for Amoco removing paraffin from wells using a truck rig. While Levi lowered the rig mast for a repair, the mast either touched or came close to the power line that crossed the access road leading to the Stuart well. Electricity escaped from the line and hit Levi, resulting in severe burns and the amputation of Levi’s legs. Levi sued Slemco and its insurance company. At trial, Levi’s experts testified as to precautions Slemco could have taken to eliminate the hazard caused by the power line at the Stuart well, including insulating or raising the line. The jury found in favor of Slemco. Levi’s motions for judgment notwithstanding the verdict and a new trial were denied, and the court of appeal affirmed. The Louisiana Supreme Court granted review.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Dennis, J.)

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