No Immunity For Utility’s Negligent Placement Of Pole

In Seals v. County of Morris , the New Jersey Supreme Court held that Jersey Central Power & Light was not immune from liability for its negligent placement of an electrical pole. The Court held that if a government entity directed the utility where to place the pole, then N.J.S.A. 48:3-17.1 conferred immunity on the utility. However, where there is no governmental dictate or order , as in Seals, ordinary negligence standards apply and utility companies that place their poles without considering whether they are in dangerous locations can be held liable for resulting injuries.

In Seals , the utility pole had been at its location , an old stagecoach route, since approximately 1937. The location had been the site of several prior accidents and the pole had previously been replaced three times.

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