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Jury awards over $4 million to family of deceased farmworker

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POSTED July 8, 2015 8:43 p.m.

RIVERSIDE (AP) — A jury awarded more than $4 million to the family of a farmworker electrocuted by a Southern California Edison power line.

Pablo Padilla Ayala was working on a grapefruit farm in Hemet, 90 miles east of Los Angeles, when his aluminum ladder touched the power line in 2010.

His family sued Edison two years ago, arguing that the line was dangerously close to fruit trees and Edison failed to properly maintain it.

A Riverside County jury reached its verdict Tuesday. Edison issued a statement saying it was considering its options.

“This verdict sends a strong message to Edison and other public utilities that power line safety is more than just a slogan on a billboard,” said Robert Jarchi, the family’s lead attorney. “The family hopes this outcome will ensure Edison makes safety changes to prevent this type of accident form happening again.”

Maura Diaz said her husband was originally from Mexico and spent 10 years working on the farm. The couple had two children, now 7 and 9.

“He worked very hard so that our children could get ahead,” Diaz said Wednesday.

She said the settlement money would be put toward their children’s future and fulfilling the dreams their father had envisioned for them.

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