Family of man killed in accident receives compensation

FRESNO, Calif.

The jury decided the company 27-year-old Francisco Martinez was working for did not train him properly for the job he was told to do at a beachfront home in Malibu.

Jurors said they felt Martinez was a victim and they awarded his wife, daughter and mother with just over 13 million dollars for the economic loss and emotional hardship.

Martinez was working at a multimillion dollar home in Malibu in 2009.

According to testimony, Martinez was told by the foreman to get under the home, and install wiring for a doorbell. During the process, he was electrocuted.

Sue Guerrero was the jury foreperson in the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the Martinez family.

Guerrero said jurors had no problem finding the holding company, Herndon Partners responsible for his death.

"When all else is said and done, a man died from someone else's business practices and that's what it's all about is his family," Guerrero said.

Francisco Martinez left behind a wife, and daughter who was just a year old at the time.

The family alleged in the lawsuit Martinez was instructed to perform a job he should never have been doing.

"Francisco was asked at various different times to do work that he wasn't trained or qualified to do and that there wasn't any safety training for. One of those things was welding, which he had never done before, under a house with copper pipes," Craig Peters, attorney for the Martinez family, said.

The day of his death, Martinez was working in a damp environment with live wires. His attorney said if he was trained, he could have easily avoided the accident.

Jurors said they went through many mathematical equations in reaching the monetary amount they felt was fair and just. The calculation included future earnings and other factors.

"Then the non-economic was how will this family carry on and what did this father and husband and son- what would it take for his family to carry on without him," Guerrero said.

Martinez's widow declined our request to be interviewed. The attorney representing Herndon Partners did not return our calls for comment.

Jurors said they hope this verdict also sends a message to other companies and contractors who hire day laborers to perform risky jobs they aren't trained for.

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