PERSONAL INJURY - BLACK WARRIOR ELECTRIC MEMBERSHIP CORP. V. MCCARTER
Black Warrior Electric Membership Corp. v. McCarter, [Ms. 1110745, Oct. 19, 2012] __ So. 3d __(Ala. 2012). McCarter was shocked while riding a piece of equipment under power lines owned and operated by Black Warrior. The issue was whether the lines were lower than specified in the National Electric Safety Code and whether Black Warrior had notice that they were low. McCarter presented substantial evidence that the lines were low, and he argued that evidence of notice was provided by the fact that a Black Warrior employee drove under the lines at 6:30 that morning. However, the Court held that McCarter's evidence that the lines were low required drawing an inference of that fact and that to then infer that the employee saw low lines as he drove under them that morning would be to impermissibly draw an inference upon an inference. The Court also held that the only evidence presented as to when the lines allegedly came to be below NESC standards amounted to speculation and conjecture. The trial court therefore erred in denying Black Warrior's motion for a JML. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment on a jury verdict for McCarter.