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On a sunny June day in 2009, a power line fell on Carrie Goretzka, a young mother, setting her on fire as her young children watched in horror from the front porch of their suburban Pittsburgh home. What followed was an investigation and civil action against the Goretzkas’ utility, West Penn Power Company, which the family’s lawyer, Shanin Specter, claimed had been not only negligent, but also reckless. The trial was a very difficult challenge for the attorneys representing the family and those defending the utility. In their efforts to reduce the culpability of their clients, the defense at one point tried to claim that the victim was to blame for her own painful death by electrocution. Robert Zausner’s chronicle of the case of Goretzka v. West Penn Power Company is an emotional one, begging the question: will justice be served against a dangerous, negligent corporation, or will the Goretzka family’s story be ignored by the law?
About the Author
Robert Zausner, who lives with his family in Moorestown, New Jersey, is also the author of Two Boys: Divided by Fortune—United by Tragedy, Bad Brake: Ford Trucks—Deadly When Parked and Dying to Have a Baby: A True Story. He is a former journalist with United Press International and The Philadelphia Inquirer.