Three lawsuits filed against Columbia Gas for Sissonville gas explosion

By Kyla Asbury | Nov 14, 2013


CHARLESTON - Three lawsuits have been filed against Columbia Gas Transmission LLC for injuries allegedly sustained from 2012's Sissonville gas explosion.

Columbia Pipeline Group Services Company, formerly known as NiSource Gas Transmission & Storage Company; NiSource Midstream Services LLC; NiSource Energy Ventures LLC; NiSource Corporate Services Company; William Christian; Jack W. Whitmire Jr.; Mitchell G. Thomas; Daniel Herpin; and John Does 1 through 10 have also been named as defendants in the suit.

Jeffrey Haynes and Heather Haynes, individually and as parents of Alexee Haynes; Carl Johnson; and Sandra Bonham owned parcels of property in Sissonville that were damaged during the explosion on Dec. 11, according to three complaints filed Oct. 29 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

The plaintiffs claim as a result of the explosion, they were forced from their properties and have been required to relocate to new homes.

The defendants negligently failed to inspect, maintain, operate, repair and/or monitor the gas transmission pipelines at issue and failed to ensure that the gas transmission lines were safe for use and had not corroded to the point of failure, according to the suits.

The plaintiffs claim the defendants had a legal duty to them to exercise the utmost care and diligence in maintaining and operating the gas pipeline.

The defendants breached their legal duties by failing to exercise care in its operation and maintenance of the gas pipeline and failing to inspect the gas pipeline, according to the suits.

The plaintiffs claim the defendants' breach of their duties was the legal and proximate cause of the injuries and damages suffered by the plaintiffs.

The defendants were or should have been aware of the extensive corrosion existing on the gas transmission pipeline and the 70 percent reduction of its original thickness since it was originally installed in 1967, according to the suits.

The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. They are being represented by Scott S. Segal and Victor S. Woods of the Segal Law Firm and Michael J. Del Giudice of Ciccarello, Del Giudice & LaFon.

The cases have been assigned to Circuit Judges Tod J. Kaufman, James C. Stucky and Charles E. King.

Seven other lawsuits were filed against the defendants earlier this year because of the explosion.

Kanawha Circuit Court case numbers: 13-C-2030, 13-C-2031, 13-C-2036

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