The Iowa Court of Appeals has ruled dairy farmers near Wesley in Kossuth County showed “sufficient evidence” their operation was harmed by nearby power lines.
The Burdick family sued Interstate Power and Light in October of 2013. The family argued their dairy cows produced less milk and had breeding problems because of stray voltage. After an eight-day trial in December of 2015, a jury awarded the Burdicks half a million dollars in damages.
Lawyers for Interstate Power and Light appealed, arguing the verdict bore no relationship to the evidence presented by the Burdicks. A district court judge ruled the jury made an “uneducated guess” on lost profits and dismissed jury’s damage award. The judge also ordered a new trial.
The Burdicks appealed that ruling.
The Iowa Court of Appeals agrees with the Burdicks that there “was sufficient evidence of damages” and the appeals court has ordered the utility to pay the family what the jury decided.
Interstate Power and Light could ask the Iowa Supreme Court to review the case.
Earlier this year, a Wisconsin jury awarded a dairy farmer in western Wisconsin about $4.5 million in a stray voltage case. The judgment could triple to $13.5 million, though, if a judge rules Xcel Energy willfully violated the law.