After a two-week trial in the Superior Court of Wake County, a unanimous jury returned a verdict in the amount of $500,000 against Time Warner Cable Southeast, LLC.
The incidents giving rise to this trial occurred the weekend of January 12, 2014. A storm came through the Wake County area, bringing down a Time Warner cable communications line from a nearby telephone pole. The line stretched across a portion of Olive Branch Road in Durham County. Time Warner Cable was notified the night of January 11 multiple times by emergency authorities in the area that their line had come off the pole and was laying in the roadway. Time Warner Cable did not respond in any capacity to their cable that was laying across the roadway. Multiple requests by emergency personnel for Time Warner Cable to remedy the hazard went unanswered.
While the cable was not an apparent danger to motorists, it was a danger to cyclists. This stretch of Olive Branch Road is a popular rural cycling destination for many of the triangle’s cycling groups. The next day, on January 12, group after group of cyclists, starting in the morning and continuing throughout the day, encountered the cable and wire that was left across the roadway. Many cyclists suffered significant injuries when they hit the cable and went down. There were no warnings placed in the roadway, as Time Warner Cable failed to come to the scene of the incident until late that afternoon.
The plaintiffs in this trial were two cyclists who encountered the cable and suffered significant injuries. After a two week civil trial, the jury found Time Warner Cable responsible for leaving a hazard in the roadway, and awarded the plaintiffs a total of $500,000 in damages.
The plaintiffs brought the case against Time Warner to ensure that the next time emergency personnel requests that they remove their property from the public right of way, they take that request seriously.