Colorado Court Upholds Damage Award to Injured Worker

May 26, 2011

The Colorado Supreme Court has upheld an award of $18 million in exemplary damages to an Xcel Energy lineman who was injured when a Qwest Communications International Inc. telephone pole that he was working on collapsed.

Andrew Blood was injured in 2004. A jury had awarded him nearly $40 million in damages, including $18 million in exemplary damages after he sued Denver-based Qwest for negligence. Blood had argued that for decades, Qwest failed to implement routine pole inspections that would have detected the internal rot that caused the pole to collapse.

The Colorado Supreme Court upheld the jury award in a ruling Monday. However two justices dissented, saying it’s unclear whether jurors improperly considered Qwest’s actions after the accident when they decided on damages.

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