The state Supreme Court has issued a key ruling on stray voltage, ruling in favor of dairy farm families in Clark and Marathon counties.
Minnesota-based Xcel Energy had claimed that the Gumz family of Athens had filed their case outside the statute of limitations. But Gumz attorney Scott Lawrence says the court's ruling said otherwise. Lawrence also says the 4-3 ruling found that the Gumzes were not negligent because they had sought help in pinpointing the source of their herd's lower milk production and unusually high mortality rate
Greg Cook also prosecuted the case for the Gumzes. He says the ruling sends a clear message to utilities. “Until the utilities . . . stop using the earth as a return path for their neutral current, these cases are going to continue,” says Cook. “It's not that difficult to solve.”
The Supreme Court upheld a more than half-million dollar jury award in the Gumz case, and also sent a stray voltage case involving Clark County farmers back to a lower court for a ruling.