YES!!!  A stray voltage win in Wisconsin, well, TWO stray voltage wins in Wisconsin.  It’s been a rough week for those poor folks at Xcel…

Here are the cases:

Gumz v. Northern States Power

Schmidt v. Northern States Power

And here’s an article from the Wausau Daily Herald:

Posted December 7, 2007

Stray-voltage award OK’d

State’s high court: Athens-area farmers due $532,000 in damages

By Kevin Murphy
For the Wausau Daily Herald

MADISON — The Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld a $532,000 damage award Thursday to two rural Athens dairy farmers in a stray voltage lawsuit brought against Northern States Power Co.

In a 4-3 decision, the court also upheld Marathon County Circuit Judge Gregory Grau’s rulings that James and Michael Gumz filed the suit within the six-year time limit and jurors could not reduce the damage award based on any alleged deficient farming practices.

James Gumz, who lives along Highway E, said the case he filed in 2001 has dragged on so long that he was not excited by Thursday’s ruling.

“I will be when I see the money,” he joked.

The Gumz family’s dairy herd first exhibited production and health problems in 1991, which was 10 years after James and Michael bought their parents’ farm, served by an electric line installed in 1937.

Although as early as 1993 veterinarians suspected the cows’ symptoms might involve some “outside phenomena,” they concentrated on changing nutrition and milking equipment as the solutions.

Their veterinarian wrote NSP in 1996 stating she suspected stray voltage was causing the herd’s production problems and requested an inspection of the farm’s electrical system. Although NSP’s tests found no problems above a state-prescribed “level of concern,” an electrician hired by the Gumzes found much higher levels of stray voltage coming from off the farm.

On the electrician’s advice, the Gumzes installed electrical equipment, and fewer cows died and production increased. Problems returned by 1999, and when NSP’s test found no stray voltage problems and the Gumzes’ electrician did, the Gumzes filed suit in 2001.

After losing at trial and appeal, NSP appealed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court but lost again on their statute of limitations and other arguments.

“Prior to May 1996, the Gumzes did not know, nor with reasonable diligence should they have known, that stray voltage from Northern States Power was the cause of damage to their herd,” wrote Justice Ann Walsh Bradley.

Justices Annette Ziegler, David Prosser and Patience Roggensack dissented. 

And an Associated Press story:

 Supreme Court upholds nearly $533,000 award in stray voltage case

About time…

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