Florida Power and Light must pay nearly $24 million to the mother of a 15-year-old San Carlos Park boy who was electrocuted in 2011, a jury ruled Wednesday.
The boy, Justin Dominguez, received a shock when he climbed bamboo that was close to power lines, sustaining injuries that proved fatal. FPL inspectors had warned the company in 2008 to cut the bamboo because of its proximity to the lines.
The bamboo tree is still standing and touching the power line.
“They know how dangerous bamboo is … they know better than anyone bamboo is highly conductive, fast growing, it sways, it’s flexible. That’s why their own rules call for it to be removed,” said attorney Ty Roland, who represented Tricia Dominguez, the boy’s mother.
FPL spokesperson Bill Orlove released a statement Thursday afternoon:
We extend our thoughts and prayers to the Dominguez family during this difficult time. We disagree with the jury’s decision and are evaluating further legal options.
The jury found Justin 30 percent responsible, saying the 15-year-old boy was old enough to understand it was dangerous to climb a tree.
“He was always in a tree, I was always in a tree … it’s a fun thing to do,” Tricia said.
A nearby resident says FPL was on the property Thursday and told him they would be coming out there to work on the tree at 7 a.m. Friday.
“I’ll always have a hole in my heart,” Tricia said.