Lewiston lawyer wins $22.5M lawsuit


LEWISTON — A local lawyer won the second-largest civil verdict Friday in Vermont’s history.

The jury’s award of nearly $22.5 million followed a three-week trial.

Benjamin Gideon, a lawyer with Berman & Simmons represented a line worker who lost both of his legs below the knee after suffering significant electrical burn injuries.

One of the largest telephone service providers in the country, Frontier Communications of America, Inc. — formerly known as Citizens Communications — which owns an electric utility in northern Vermont, was the defendant.

Michael Hemond, who worked for the Vermont Electrical Cooperative, claimed that Citizens was negligent in the design of an electrical substation and the selection of certain high-voltage switches used at that substation. When Hemond tried to open one of those switches, he was “severely” injured, according to a written statement released by Berman & Simmons.

Gideon served as one of three lawyers at trial.