Man Trapped in Rubble Sues Gas Company

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (CN) – More than 1,400 gas lines have exploded in the United States in the past 10 years, killing 120 and injuring 450, says a man who was grievously injured in a February explosion that leveled a Kansas City restaurant.
     Michael and Crystal Tanner sued Southern Union Co. dba Missouri Gas Energy and Locating Services in Jackson County Court.
     Michael Tanner claims he was burned over more than 20 percent of his body in the explosion that killed one person and hurt many and leveled JJ’s restaurant in the Plaza area of Kansas City at about 5:45 p.m. on Feb. 19.
     Tanner was trapped in the rubble, with fractures and lacerations, and has run up more than $1 million in medical bills, and counting, he says in the complaint.
     He claims the explosion was caused by a third-party excavating crew that ruptured a 2-inch Southern Union gas line earlier that day.
     In the past 10 years, “there have been over 1,400 incidents involving gas distribution lines in the United States, resulting in at least 120 deaths and 450 serious injuries,” the Tanners say in the complaint, citing the U.S. Department of Transportation.
     “Those incidents caused nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars in property damage.”
     The Tanners claim Southern Union failed to turn off an upstream valve or evacuate the area after learning of the leak.
     They claim the third and final defendant, Missouri Gas Energy employee Mike Palier, was “responsible for insuring that the gas supply was cut off and/or the area of the rupture was evacuated.”
     The Tanners seek punitive damages for negligence, medical bills, lost wages, continuing disability, loss of consortium, pain and suffering, and strict liability. They are represented by Richard McLeod.

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