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$12,250,000 Wrongful Death

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The Homampour Law Firm talks about how through effective framing and advocacy we can win (and win big) what seem to be impossibly tough cases at trial in any jurisdiction (even those considered to be ultra conservative.)

Facts

On September 4, 2018 and after a 5 day trial, a Fresno Jury found that Defendants who operated a large outdoor market and swap meet were legally responsible for the death of a vendor who mistakenly contacted an energized power line on Defendants’ property with his advertising banner/flag.

The jury awarded $12.25 million in damages to the decedent’s wife (even though she spoke no English and was a seasonal farm worker who sold inexpensive parts at swap meets throughout central California with her husband.)

Defendant’s Contentions

Despite repeated attempts to settle the case below policy limits, Defendants’ insurance carrier refused to offer anything more than $700,000. Defendants’ attorneys argued that everyone knows power lines are dangerous, that the hazard was "open and obvious", that they never had anyone use an advertising banner/flag as tall as Plaintiff’s, and that the incident was 100% the fault of the Plaintiff and her husband.

Result

We won by reframing the case and demonstrating that this tragic event was an accident waiting to happen. It was Defendants that created a highly dangerous condition. Defendants put approximately 20 (out of 800) vendor spaces directly underneath high voltage lines knowing vendors were using tall advertising banners to visually compete with the other 500 vendors. We were able to cross-examine the defense experts into agreeing that this tragedy was foreseeable and preventable in that Defendants could have simply blocked off the 20 spaces under the unprotected high voltage lines. We also demonstrated that Defendants knew or should have known that vendors were using tall advertising banners, with a photograph of a long standing vendor with a 34 foot tall flag.

We obtained what some consider to be a very high damage award but we think is a fair amount for our client’s devastating lifetime loss and mental harm. Even though the Plaintiff’s husband died that day, we were effectively able to bring him to life for the jurors so that they could see and feel through Plaintiff the beauty of this man - beaming, smiling, and shining love. Imagine having (as the lucky significant other) that energy in your life every day how awesome life would be? Now imagine what it would be to have that snatched from you with no warning, you are forced to watch him die and will forever have that event seared into your mind. Such a shame. . . and the insurance company didn’t value the case like we did.

Watch this video of Arash with the Fresno Bee after the trial:


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