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After verdict, defendant settles wrongful death suit for $105 million

After verdict, defendant settles wrongful death suit for $105 million

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A lawyer who won one of the largest jury verdicts last year for the family of a woman killed by a power line that fell into her backyard, has settled the case post-verdict for $105 million.

Shanin Specter of the law firm Kline & Specter in Philadelphia had called the case one of the easiest he has tried and the injuries some of the worst he has ever seen.

Carrie Goretzka was electrocuted with 7,200 volts and died of her burns three days later. Specter alleged during trial that the utility company, West Penn Power, did not train its employees on properly splicing the lines to keep them from overheating and falling.

Two unusual terms of the settlement were pressed by Specter.

In addition to the monetary settlement, the company has agreed to inspect all 26,000 miles of power lines and fix any splices found to be in danger of falling and to train its employees, Specter said after the settlement.

“We would not agree to settle the personal injury suit unless the power company took remedial action,” Specter said.

While settlements are typically kept confidential, Specter said he insisted that it be made public.

“Because this was a significant public safety issue, I felt that it was in the strong public interest that nothing about this be kept secret,” he said.

During the trial, the family rejected an offer to settle the case for $40 million. Closer to the end of the trial, West Penn tentatively agreed to pay $50 million to settle the case, but backed out of the deal and sent the case to the jury.


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