Man Killed In Gas Line Explosion, Settlement Obtained for Surviving Family Members
Many Minnesotans remember the sad news from downtown St. Cloud, Minnesota, when a gas line explosion in December 1998 leveled an entire city block and killed four people, injuring 15. According to federal investigators, construction workers drilling an anchor into the ground to brace a utility pole punctured a plastic natural-gas pipe, causing the leak that led to the explosion.
Our client, a worker for then Northern States Power Company (NSP), now Xcel Energy, was called to the scene to help with repairs when the explosion occurred. He was killed instantly, leaving behind a wife and two adult daughters. We contended that the subcontractor hired to install the utility pole for a fiber optic cable, as well as other defendants in the case, failed to take appropriate action to both prevent and respond to the gas line hit.
This case was one of five cases from the explosion that involved very extended litigation over a five-year period. The cases were set for trial in January 2004 but settled in December prior to trial. The settlement amount was significant but at the request of plaintiff and defendants, the amount is subject to a confidentiality agreement.