$109M verdict in W. Pa. woman’s power line death

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PITTSBURGH (AP) – The family of a Western Pennsylvania woman killed in front of her mother-in-law and young daughters by a downed power line has won a $109 million wrongful death verdict.


The jury verdict Thursday for Michael Goretzka and his two young daughters included $61 million in punitive damages against West Penn Power Co.


Jurors heard nearly three weeks off testimony about the June 2009 death of 39-year-old Carrie Goretzka, of Irwin. She was standing in the yard calling 911 when the line fell on her, and suffered burns over 80 percent of her body.


Shanin Specter, who represents the Goretzka family, argued that West Penn employees failed to properly install the power line.


Judge Michael Della Vecchia says it’s the largest personal injury verdict ever awarded in Allegheny County.


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