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RODNEY W. KINTNER v. CLAVERACK RURAL ELECTRIC CO-OPERATIVE (07/13/84)

filed: July 13, 1984.

RODNEY W. KINTNER, APPELLANT
v.
CLAVERACK RURAL ELECTRIC CO-OPERATIVE, INC.; RODNEY W. KINTNER V. CLAVERACK RURAL ELECTRIC CO-OPERATIVE, INC., APPELLANT. RODNEY W. KINTNER, APPELLANT V. CLAVERACK RURAL ELECTRIC CO-OPERATIVE, INC.



NO. 1342 PHILA. 1982, Appeal from the Order in the Court of Common Pleas of Susquehanna County, Civil No. 1980 - 274. NO. 1558 PHILA. 1982, Appeal from the Order in the Court of Common Pleas of Susquehanna County, Civil No. 274 of 1980. NO. 1559 PHILA. 1982, Appeal from the Judgment in the Court of Common Pleas of Susquehanna County, Civil No. 1980 - 274.

COUNSEL

Laurence M. Kelly, Montrose, for Kintner, appellant (at Nos. 1342 and 1559) and appellee (at No. 1558).

Lucille Marsh, Scranton, for Claverack, appellant (at No. 1558) and appellee (at Nos. 1342 and 1559).

Spaeth, President Judge, and Cirillo and Johnson, JJ.

Author: Spaeth

[ 329 Pa. Super. Page 420]

These appeals arise from a trespass action by Rodney W. Kintner against Claverack Rural Electric Co-Operative, Inc., to recover damages for the loss of 14 dairy cows electrocuted when some power lines came down during a storm, on June 5, 1979. The jury returned a verdict for Kintner of $31,000. Both parties moved for judgment n.o.v. or a new trial. Claverack's motions raised issues of both liability and damages; Kintner's motions raised only issues of damages. The trial court dismissed both parties' motions, but remitted $8,250 of the verdict, holding that it had

[ 329 Pa. Super. Page 421]

    improperly charged the jury on damages for lost profits and unborn cattle. Both parties appealed.*fn1 We affirm.

-1-

In support of its motion for judgment n.o.v., Claverack argues that the evidence of its negligence was insufficient. In considering a motion for judgment n.o.v., the evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the verdict winner. Sperrazza v. Cambridge Mutual Fire Ins. Co., 313 Pa. Super. 60, 459 A.2d 409 (1983). So viewed, the evidence was as follows.

During a storm, part of a tree fell on power lines maintained by Claverack, bringing the lines into contact with each other. They burned through, and fell onto Kintner's cows, electrocuting them. N.T. 55-56. Kintner's expert, Willard Kresge, testified that several feasible precautions would have prevented the accident: trimming the trees; insulating the wires; using a heavier gauge wire; using higher poles; using a different method of attaching the wires, known as spacer-type construction; and installing a circuit breaker. N.T. 87-100. Kresge also testified that industry standards required trimming trees that might interfere with the lines, or insulating the wires where trimming was impractical. N.T. 71-74, 87-92.

Claverack, as a supplier of electricity, was required to exercise the highest degree of care practicable. Karam v. Pa. Power & Light Co., 205 Pa. Super. 318, 208 A.2d 876 (1965). On the basis of Kintner's testimony, the jury could find that Claverack had not taken a feasible precaution and that this failure caused the loss of Kintner's ...


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