Howry, Breen & Herman secures justice for man paralyzed in catastrophic incident
AUSTIN, Texas – Following a two-week trial, a Dallas jury has awarded $53.9 million in damages to victim James Stacey Taylor of Graham, Texas, after finding that actions by Oncor, the state’s largest electric delivery power company, caused the tragic 2015 incident that left Mr. Taylor a quadriplegic.
Winning attorney Sean Breen of Austin-based Howry, Breen & Herman, LLP, said that Mr. Taylor was severely shocked, burned, and paralyzed after Oncor wrongly told him it was his responsibility to trim or remove trees near an Oncor high voltage power line. The jury found that Oncor’s negligence resulted in Mr. Taylor’s devastating injuries.
“The verdict in this case sends a clear message to Oncor and other large power companies that putting profits over safety is repugnant and will not be tolerated in Texas,” said Mr. Breen. “The members of this heroic jury made a difference for Stacey and all of us – they made it clear that these companies do not and should not have a get-out-of-jail free card when they hurt people. Oncor needs to hear this and change.”
The case dates to 2015, when Oncor ran a power line across Mr. Taylor’s property to his neighbor’s house. Dying trees near the line were dropping branches and creating a dangerous situation. Mr. Taylor reported it to Oncor multiple times, asking the company to move the line and cut down the trees, but with no action. Instead, in an effort to save money, Oncor told Mr. Taylor it was his responsibility to protect the line and trim or remove the trees, though doing so put him in a position where he was violating Texas law. Acting to try and protect others from the dangerous conditions, Mr. Taylor was severely shocked, burned, and paralyzed and will require care for the rest of his life.
The jury found that Oncor’s conduct took advantage of Mr. Taylor’s lack of knowledge and rejected Oncor’s defense he violated the statute, finding Mr. Taylor was not familiar with the law. The jury also heard evidence that Oncor knew of other consumers and trimmers who had rented equipment like Mr. Taylor and had been shocked while trimming overgrown trees around Oncor lines.
In addition to Mr. Breen, Mr. Taylor was represented by Chris Lavorato of Howry Breen & Herman, LLP; Brian Lauten of Brian Lauten, P.C. in Dallas; and Robert Swafford of Strike for Cause Jury Consulting.
The case is Taylor v. Oncor Electric Delivery Co. Inc., Case No. DC-16-01615 in Dallas County.
About Howry, Breen & Herman, LLP
Founded in 1995, Howry, Breen & Herman, LLP is a firm of trial attorneys who have fought for and won numerous record-setting and Hall of Fame jury verdicts and settlements for victims across the country. Learn more about the firm at www.howrybreen.com