Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Wilson v. Southern California Edison (Cal. Ct. App. - Feb. 9, 2015)

When I read the first paragraph of this opinion, and noticed that the jury had awarded the plaintiff over $4 million -- including $3 million in punitive damages -- for "allowing uncontrolled stray electrical currents to enter the home" from an electrical substation next door, I thought that this was one of your classic juries who believed that electromagnetic radiation from electrical power lines causes cancer.  A controversial theory, to say that least.

But the case is actually not about something controversial.  There are, in fact, stray electrical currents that can -- and often do -- enter homes from nearby substations.  Currents that can at a minimum be extraordinarily annoying, and potentially worse.

When you read this opinion -- which ends up remanding the case for a new trial (and reversing the award of punitive damages) -- my bet is that you'll think twice before buying a home that has an electrical substation nearby.

And if you'd have thought twice about it already, this one will make you think thrice.