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DAMAGES REDUCED IN ELECTROCUTION CASE

Mar 6, 1999

By Bill Poovey

The Associated Press

The Alabama Supreme Court reduced from $ 13 million to $ 4 million a jury's award of damages to the parents of a 10-year-old boy who was electrocuted while buying a snack from an ungrounded vending machine in Clanton.

The justices' 6-0 decision gave the Mobile couple, Michael Ramanauskas and Tela Ramanauskas, one month to either accept the reduced award from Charlotte, N.C.-based Lance Inc. or have the case sent back to circuit court in Mobile for a new trial.

"We will discuss it and decide what to do," said the couple's attorney, Robert Cunningham Jr. of Mobile.

Larry Harper of Birmingham, an attorney for Lance, could not be reached by telephone for comment.

The parents of Shawn Ramanauskas previously received settlements of $ 7 million from Williams Motel Inc. and Holiday Inns Inc., owners of the motel where the machine was located, and another $ 3 million from Montgomery Coca-Cola, the owner of a soft drink vending machine that was touching the machine owned by Lance.

Neither the motel owners nor Montgomery Coca-Cola admitted any wrongdoing in the settlement agreement.

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