Jury awards more than $2 million to dairy farmers in stray voltage suit


A jury has awarded nearly $2.5 million to compensate Wright County dairy farmers for losses caused by stray voltage from their local power company's equipment, the Associated Press reports.

Farmers Harlan and Jennifer Poppler and Roy Marschall have a long-running legal fight with Wright-Hennepin Cooperative Electric Association, arguing that outdated and poorly maintained equipment caused health problems with their dairy herd that reduced milk production, the AP says.

In 2012 a jury awarded the Popplers $750,000. Harlan Poppler told the Dairy Star then that health problems with the 200 cows in the family's herd dated back to 2006 and consultant hired to investigate traced them to a power line built in 1947.

That award was subsequently overturned on appeal because of errors made by the trial court. The case was sent back to the lower court, where the larger amount was awarded by a jury last month, the AP says.

Their lawyer told the wire service the Popplers are pleased with the award but expect another appeal.

The Star Tribune reports at least six lawsuits over stray voltage are pending in Minnesota.

While advocates for farmers hope the jury award is a sign the legal tide may be turning in their favor, an attorney for Wright-Hennepin Cooperative Electric Association tells the Star Tribune farmers under stress from the market are unfairly pointing fingers at power companies.

Next Up

Bryan Ellinger

Charges: Trail of Terror supervisor sexually assaulted 3 teenage employees

Bryan Ellinger was arrested in January accused of raping a 15-year-old employee. Two more women have come forward accusing him of sexually assaulted them as teens.

Screen Shot 2021-03-05 at 8.52.53 AM

Donations flood in for N. Minneapolis teen who penned Star Tribune column

Marcus Hunter gained recognition for writing about his experience as a Black teen in North Minneapolis following the police killing of George Floyd.

Screen Shot 2021-03-05 at 7.49.11 AM

Fatal crash victim identified as newlywed from Buffalo

Whitney Nelson died after a two-vehicle crash near Glencoe Tuesday.

vaccine, covid

Roy Wilkins Auditorium to become MN's 5th large-scale vaccination site

Gov. Tim Walz is holding a media call Friday amid the release of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.


Police searching for driver after fatal hit-and-run in Minneapolis

Police say the driver of a cream or white SUV hit a man in the road and then fled.

bloomington police incident

BREAKING: Area of Bloomington shut down, police have building surrounded

Portions of Lyndale Avenue and American Boulevard are closed.

police lights

Attempted luring of 14-year-old girl reported in West St. Paul

The suspect is described as a white man in his 40s.

Screen Shot 2021-03-04 at 9.19.48 PM

Worker, 18, suffers serious electric shock at Vikings apartments site

The worker was reportedly in a critical condition Thursday.


As golf season approaches, book your round now at Dacotah Ridge GC

The stunning course is designed by world-renowned architect Rees Jones.

Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett's group out of potential Timberwolves sale

Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said that Garnett's group was not one of "more than 10" to buy the team.


Full production winery set to open in Minneapolis this month

The couple behind Schram Vineyards Winery and Brewery is opening AxeBridge Wine Company in Minneapolis' North Loop neighborhood.