The defendants contended that the accident was Mr. Stringer's fault for working too close to the trench. Plaintiffs contended that it was PG&E and Hal Porter's fault in that the trench was open for an extended period of time and PG&E had failed to either fill it or put barricade tape along the sides of the trench to keep workers away. Mr. Stringer suffered a back injury that ultimately resulted in four spinal operations and disability. Verdict was entered for plaintiff Dave Stringer in the amount of $5.83 million and for plaintiff Doreen Stringer for loss of consortium in the amount of $1.7 million. Verdict: $7.53 million. Defendants had offered $500,000 prior to trial to settle the case.