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USA: Gas utility co. to face lawsuits over gas explosion that caused death, injuries & destroyed homes

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18 September 2018

Class action lawsuit filed against Columbia Gas, accused of 'extreme negligence' in care of pipeline

Author: Michelle Williams, MassLive.com (USA)

The first lawsuit on behalf of the victims of the Merrimack Valley explosions has been filed against Columbia Gas of Massachusetts...Representing attorneys include environmental attorney Robert F. Kennedy, Jr..."Columbia committed an act of extreme negligence," Kennedy said during a conference call... He accused the company is rapidly building pipelines while not tending to their aging infrastructure, citing several explosions of pipelines operated by NiSource and its subsidiaries...The lawsuit was filed as a class action on behalf of a resident whose home was evacuated following the series of explosions and fires.  The suit does not represent those injured or the family of the teenager killed Thursday, who are expected to be represented separated...Explosions...caused upwards of 70 fires, injured more than two dozen people and resulted in the death of an 18-year-old...Homes in each community were evacuated...Residents were allowed to return home over the weekend though are expected to remain without gas utilities for weeks.  Preliminary investigative reports show over-pressurized gas lines as the believed cause of the disaster.

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18 September 2018

Lawsuit targets Massachusetts utility over deadly gas explosions

Author: Nate Raymond, Reuters

A resident of a Massachusetts city rocked by last week’s deadly gas blasts that damaged dozens of homes sued utility operator NiSource Inc on Tuesday, accusing it of inadequately maintaining its distribution system.  The proposed class action lawsuit targets NiSource and its subsidiary Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, which services Andover, North Andover and Lawrence, three communities northwest of Boston that staged large-scale evacuations following...blasts that killed one person and injured at least 25.  The lawsuit in Essex County Superior Court is the first to be filed...It claims the gas pipeline system used by Columbia Gas to service those communities was “poorly maintained, antiquated, obsolete, and highly dangerous.”  Merrillville, Indiana-based NiSource did not respond to a request for comment...The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages on behalf of residents affected by the incident and an order requiring NiSource to stop operating its system in an unsafe manner.  The blasts...destroyed as many as 80 houses in the largest natural gas pipeline accident in the United States since 2010.  Some 8,000 people were displaced amid evacuations of entire neighborhoods...

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