California woman awarded $4 million for shower head shocking

March 20, 2013

moneyA Los Angeles jury awarded a California woman $4 million for getting shocked by stray electricity that pulsed through her bathroom shower head. [Mercury News]

Simona Wilson, the mother of three young children, sued Southern California Edison in 2011 around the time an inspector told her to get out of her Redondo Beach house immediately. In addition to losing nerve function in her hands and feet, Wilson lost the house, which Southern California Edison originally constructed and owned, to foreclosure several months later.

The house is located next to an Edison facility called the Topaz Substation, and residents in the area have long complained about the substation and overhead power lines emitting electricity.

After sitting through the civil trial in downtown Los Angeles, the jury determined that Edison had caused a nuisance and had acted negligently and with “reckless disregard.” The $4 million award included $3 million in damages against Edison.

A Southern California Edison spokesman says the utility it is considering filing an appeal. During the trial, an expert witness for Edison testified that the electrical current residents felt was within acceptable levels.

“Edison still denies that there is anything dangerous in the area and denies that they did anything wrong,” Wilson’s attorney Lars Johnson said.


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Sounds like a TV story for “A CURRENT Affair.” Maybe she can now shop and just say “CHARGE it. (ARC ARC ARC :))” Maybe Edison just needs to ohm-alate and pay it.

I would think any ‘hot’ electricity anywhere it is not expected is unacceptable, anywhere, all the time. Sounds like the company is not telling the truth as evidenced by the verdict.

Yeah, I got that too… what is an “acceptable norm” of electrocution? Wow.

A shocking story…

What is an acceptable level of electricity to be carried through your plumbing???

Ever since its inception the National Electric Code (NEC) has required that a building’s electrical system be grounded to the building’s plumbing system to prevent user electrocution or fires caused by stray electrical current or “surges”, e.g. lightning strikes.

Electromagnetic fields around power lines do induce stray currents in nearby objects. You may have seen photos of fluorescent light tubes glowing near power lines without being connected to a light fixture:

Induction of current into nearby metal plumbing seems someone predictable, then, but if the plumbing were properly grounded there should be no shock felt. I would think this situation is easily correctable.

Spot on kevin,

The UBC is very clear about the seperation betweenlpumbing and electrical work and is very clear about grounding in current homes. If this house were built or remodeled by a legally licensed, bonded and insured contractor it should not be an issue.

And yes, IMHO the problem could be easily corrected by properly grounding both systems and providing GFI outlets anywhere around water or on the exterior of the dwelling…

What is a ”three civil trial”?

Ka Ching