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Clark v. Choctawhatchee Electric Co-operative, Inc.

Supreme Court of Florida.

Nov. 26, 1958; Rehearing Denied Jan. 14, 1959.

No Number in Original


 [*610]  THOMAS, Justice.

In this case notice of appeal was filed before 1 July 1957, and the court, pursuant to Sec. 26(6) of Article V of the Constitution as amended 6 November 1956, F.S.A., elected to retain the cause for decision. It should be noted that the transcript was filed 25 March 1958, and the final brief 13 August 1958. The case was orally presented to this court 29 October 1958.

At the time of the incident which gave rise to this litigation, the appellant, Mrs. Josephine Clark, was the operator of a gasoline service station. Close by the property, the appellee maintained a high power line carrying 7,200 volts of electricity. While the employees of appellee were attempting to repair the line, without breaking the circuit, and this appellant was ironing in the adjacent building, something gave way so that the line fell striking the pumps and putting them out of commission, causing actual damage to certain property at the station as will be seen from the part of the judge's order presently quoted, discharging electrical current in the immediate [**2]  area, and setting fire to the woods some distance away.

When this occurred, the appellant, who was in the building near the pumps, saw a blinding flash that lighted the whole station with "blue fire," heard a loud report, and felt a shock. Her tongue thickened, her legs began to ache, then buckled, and she fell to the ground. She was taken to the hospital about eleven o'clock in the morning and remained there until evening. Her legs continued to hurt and in her body there was a burning sensation so intense that she could not go near a stove or heater. As she described her condition, she was "just burned up, my face and hands." She then consulted physicians in a distant town, one or the other of whom evidently treated her for a considerable period. At the time of the trial, she had not sufficiently recovered fully to resume her operation of the filling station and she was still suffering discomfort in her legs. Although she had before the episode been active in raising her four children, doing her housework and running the filling station between times, her actions were greatly curtailed afterwards. Such, in brief, was appellant's story which the jury was entitled to believe,  [**3]  and did.

The jury returned a verdict for $10,000, in favor of Mrs. Josephine Clark, and $2,000 in favor of her husband, Dallas G. Clark, who claimed damages for loss of his wife's services.

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107 So. 2d 609 *; 1958 Fla. LEXIS 1445 **

Mrs. Josephine CLARK, by her husband and next friend, Dallas G. Clark, and Dallas G. Clark, individually, Appellants, v. CHOCTAWHATCHEE ELECTRIC CO-OPERATIVE, Inc., a corporation, Appellee.


electrical shock, trauma, emotional, symptoms, station, burns, disturbance, electrical

Torts, Negligence, General Overview