PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — There is now closure for the family of a Westmoreland County woman who was killed when a power line fell on top of her in 2009.
Last year, a jury awarded her family $109 million. And on Wednesday, West Penn Power announced it has reached a settlement, rather than appealing the case.
It was the third time the power line had snapped and burned in the backyard of Michael and Carrie Goretzka. The first two times they told West Penn Power they feared for their safety.
The third time Carrie Goretzka was killed while her daughters watched in horror.
“It doesn’t replace Carrie as a mother, and a wife, and a daughter and a daughter-in-law,” said Shanin Specter, the family’s attorney. “She was the glue of that family.”
A record settlement – $105 million, but their attorney says there’s an even more important part of the deal, West Penn Power is going to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
“The power company has agreed to retrain their linemen,” Specter said. “And they have agreed to inspect their splices.”
It’s an enormous settlement. But the Goretzka’s attorney says a big chunk of the money will go for lawyer fees and taxes. Even so, the Goretzka’s will net tens of millions.
West Penn’s rate payers won’t have to cover the $105 million. Instead, the utility company’s insurance company is paying the settlement.
Meantime, West Penn is in the process of re-inspecting and repairing 26,000 miles of power lines.
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