Stray Electricity Lawsuits Multiply In Wisconsin
(DEPERE, WI)—The Wisconsin Supreme Court has upheld millions of dollars in awards to dairy farmers who claimed that their land and livestock were affected by stray electrical currents, pumped through their land by utility companies.
Since the 1990s, hundreds of lawsuits have been prompted against Wisconsin power companies. In his new book, Electrocution of America: Is Your Utility Company Out to Kill You?, former dairy farmer Russ Allen recounts his long and heated court trial against Wisconsin Public Service Corporation.
“My lawyers, Barry Hammarback and Scott Lawrence, who have been fighting utility companies on behalf of farmers for over twenty years, have described the stray electrical current that destroyed my farm as a ‘creeping menace,’” says Mr. Allen.
The threat of stray current has plagued Wisconsin farms for years:
• In December 2007, the Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld $533,000 in awards to Marathon County dairy farmers.
• The state Supreme Court awarded $1.2 million in damages to a dairy couple from Milwaukee-based We Energies.
• John Schachtner, a Deer Park, Wisconsin, farmer was awarded a $3.9 million judgment in his lawsuit against Northern States Power Co. in 1999.
• $850,000 was awarded to a Wisconsin dairy farmer who alleged that one utility’s distribution system caused illness to his livestock and stopped production on his farm.
“In the future,” says Mr. Allen, “maybe utility companies will wake up and realize that in the long run, it will be cheaper to fix the stray electrical currents than to fight over them in court.”
Mr. Allen’s court case went on for years, but in the end, he was awarded a settlement of over $2 million.
Russ Allen is one of the heirs to the Allen Dairy Farm outside of Green Bay, Wisconsin, and a leader in the movement against the electrical pollution of animals.
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