Idaho Power Co. has been found guilty of negligence in the death of a Hailey boy who was electrocuted after climbing into one of the utility's substations.
After deliberating six hours, a jury late Wednesday awarded the family of Patrick Clement, 7, about $300,000 in damages. In an emotional appeal during closing arguments, the Clements' attorney, R. Keith Roark, had asked for $2.25 million in compensation.The boy was electrocuted in September 1987 when he climbed onto substation equipment near the family's home. The Clements contend there was enough space for the boy to crawl under a fence outside the station and a gate in the inner fence was unlocked.
The jury found Idaho Power 55 percent negligent and the Clement family 45 percent negligent in the boy's death. It awarded damages ranging from $278,000 to $323,000 to Joe and Cheri Clement and Joe Jr., who was with his brother when the accident occurred.
Fifth District Judge James May still must determine the extent of Joe Jr.'s negligence, which could alter the $100,000 awarded to him.
Roark, huddled with the Clement family for several minutes immediately after the verdict but had no comment as he left the courtroom visibly upset.
Idaho Power attorney James Risch said he was pleased with the outcome.
"I feel it's a very hard-working, fair jury and they have reached a fair verdict," Risch said.