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Lee County residents are now safer due to verdict against Florida Power & Light
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Lee County residents are now safer due to verdict against Florida Power & Light

A neighborhood is finally safe for children after crews cleared bamboo near powerlines, that in 2011, killed a fifteen-year-old boy. Justin Dominguez was electrocuted when a bamboo stalk that he was climbing in his backyard contacted a high-voltage powerline.

Ty Roland and Evan Lubell with Plaintiff.jpgEarlier this week, a jury of six, found FP&L grossly negligent in the young boy's death and awarded his mother, Tricia Dominguez eight-point-seven-five million dollars in pain and suffering damages. The jury further awarded fifteen million dollars in punitive damages against FP&L for their gross negligence. It took jurors less than three hours to render both verdicts.

The jury found that the evidence overwhelmingly supported Mrs. Dominguez's claim that FP&L knew as early as 2008 that the bamboo posed a serious risk to life based on it's proximity to the ultra-lethal thirteen-thousand-volt powerline.

Mrs. Dominguez's attorneys, Ty Roland and Evan Lubell of the Fort Myers-based law firm of Aloia, Roland, Lubell & Morgan, produced extensive evidence-including FP&L's own comprehensive vegetation management guidelines that described bamboo as a fast-growing species that could only be made safe by removal when in proximity to powerlines. Mr. Lubell and Mr. Roland also showed that time and again FP&L failed to act on its own internal information that clearly spelled-out the danger that the tall bamboo posed in Justin's backyard.

FPL Decision 12-22-2017 (2).jpg"There is no amount of money that can replace the loss of a child," Mr. Lubell stated to the jury in his closing arguments. "Tricia does not come to you today on her knees," added Mr. Lubell, "she comes to you looking for justice. The victim's family had one goal in mind in when they brought this case to the court: justice for Justin. Today, FP&L was made responsible for failing to follow its own procedures for ensuring vegetation safety."

"Arrogance," Mr. Roland said when addressing the jury. "They blamed a boy for climbing a tree."

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