Propane Gas Explosions Cases

PROPANE GAS EXPLOSIONS

 Nelson v. Southeast Propane (North Dakota) (2015)

Fact: Mr. Nelson sustained serious burns when propane gas leaked from a corroded gas line located in his basement. The propane company, Southeast Propane, failed to conduct mandatory testing and inspection of the propane system, in which the propane gas system contained an out-of-date regulator which was required to be removed and replaced with a new one.

Settlement: A trial of this case was scheduled for April 2015, and settlement was reached shortly before that to compensate Mr. Nelson for his injuries.

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Knox v. Southern States Coop., Housewarmings, Trane, Monessen and Everburn (Kentucky) (2014)

Fact: Two weeks before the explosion that killed an adult and two children, a propane gas deliveryman from Southern States was at the home delivering propane when he was notified of a possible leak in the gas system. The driver admitted he did not inspect the leak. The case rose from negligence to a punitive damage case.

Settlement: Plaintiffs had damages of 18 million.

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Veldesma-California (2014)

Fact: Mr. Veldesma struck a propane gas line igniting in an explosion while working on the septic tank line in Northern California. The case was based on the propane company failing to adequately protect the lines and respond to complaints from resort workers of the smell of gas.

Settlement: Mr. Veldesma had damages of approximately $1 million.

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Amos v. Pelgas-Iowa (2012)

Fact: Mr. Amos suffered extensive burns and scarring over major portions of his body when the filing hose ruptured while he and another individual were filling propane in a small cylinder.

Settlement: Worker’s Compensation lien for past and future medical and disability benefits approached $2 million and available insurance coverage from the insurance company for Pelgas was approximately $4 million.

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Anderson v. Gas Co. et al. (2012)

Fact: A father and daughter were severely burned in Minnesota in the propane gas explosion that occurred in a resort cabin. An exterior propane gas line corroded in leaked gas into the building. The Beattie Law Firm established that the retailer was negligent in failing to warn about the dangers of propane and to discover and change the leaking propane gas line.

Settlement: A settlement was reached with the various parties in the amount of $3 million.

Gentry vs Southern et. al. (2012)

Fact: Two gentlemen were badly burned in a propane gas explosion caused by leaking propane gas. The propane retailer failed to adequately inspect and maintain the gas lines and failed to warn about the dangers of propane gas.

Settlement: A settlement of approximately $3 million was reached.

Campfield vs Gottula Propane Service, Inc., et al. (Nebraska 2010)

Facts: A propane explosion occurred at the home of our client, resulting in rendering our client disabled and completely unemployable as a result of his injuries. In the explosion he suffered severe burns, full and partial thickness to the head, face and upper body – covering 35-45% of his total body surface area. The case was based on the negligent failure to warn concerning the dangers of propane.

Settlement: The Beattie Law Firm obtained a substantial settlement for the Client prior to trial.

Hart vs. Gas Co. (2010)

Fact: Leaking propane gas exploded near Ottumwa, injuring a young boy and his grandfather. The propane gas retailer failed to adequately inspect and test its client’s gas system when it knew or should have known of the need to do so. This failure directly led to the gas leak.

Settlement: This case settled for a substantial confidential amount.

Firgard vs New Century FS, Inc., et al. (Iowa December. 2011)

Facts: A propane explosion occurred at the home of the Firgards, resulting in 33% body surface catastrophic burn injuries to our client. The case against the retailer was brought based on negligent failure to warn concerning the dangers of odorized propane.

Trial: After deliberations the Jury returned a verdict in the amount of $1,750,000.

Williams vs. Gas Co. (2008)

Fact: A 14-year-old boy was seriously burned in a propane explosion. The retailer failed to adequately warn about the dangers of propane gas and the need to utilize gas detectors.

Settlement: After a week trial in Iowa, the insurance company for the propane retailer paid a very substantial settlement to the boy.

Client v. Gappa Oil, et. al. (Minnesota 2008)

Facts: A Minnesota resident received substantial burn injuries in a propane gas explosion at her house. An uncapped line leaked propane gas into the home. The home did not have propane gas detectors to warn the homeowner of the fugitive gas. The case is still pending in Minnesota against other liable parties upon theories of negligent failure to adequately warn, negligent testing, negligent inspection, and gas detectors

Settlement: A $1,000,000.00 settlement was reached against an electrical company that contributed to the cause of the explosion. Suit is pending against others involved in the explosion.

Client v. Propane Retailer, et. al. (Florida 2008)

Facts: A married couple returned to their winter home in Florida. A propane leak resulted in an explosion, killing the couple. The case against the propane retailer and appliance manufacturers was based on a negligent failure to warn, including the need to have gas detectors installed inside our clients’ homes, and negligent testing and inspection.

Settlement: $800,000 reached prior to the start of trial.

Pavlovec v. Propane Retailer, et. al. (Iowa 2008)

Facts: Mr. Pavlovec received substantial burns following a propane explosion. There were substantial liability issues because of Mr. Pavlovec’s admission of smelling gas before lighting an appliance.

Settlement: Settlement was reached on behalf of the Mr. Pavlovec.

Myers v. Propane Retailer, et. al. (Iowa 2008)

Facts: Mr. Myers was severely burned in a propane gas explosion. The case was based on a negligent failure to warn, including the need for gas detectors, and negligent failure to inspect the gas system. A defective gas valve in an appliance leaked gas. Since the appliance was in a basement the warning odor dissipated rendering the gas unauthorized. The Beattie Law Firm was successful in reinstating our client’s claim against an appliance manufacturer in an appeal to the Iowa Court of Appeals following dismissal by the Iowa District Court.

Settlement: $1,500,000+ were reached against liable parties.

Graham v. Propane Retailer, et. al. (Iowa 2008)

Facts: Mr. Graham sustained burns in a propane gas explosion. The case was brought against the propane retailer, appliance manufacturers, and appliance retailer. The case was based on a negligent failure to warn, including the need for gas detectors. Liability was also predicated on the fact that the propane and propane industry advertises that consumers can purchase and safely install their own propane appliances.

Settlement: Substantial confidential settlements were reached against liable parties.

Svacina v. Propane Retailer (Iowa 2008)

Facts: Mr. Svacina suffered burns in a propane gas explosion due to inadequate odorization. The customer propane tank was inadequately prepared for usage which resulted in oxidation.

Settlement: Settlement was reached prior to filing a lawsuit for approximately $150,000 on behalf of the Svacinas.

Blasel v. Propane Retailer, et. al.(Wisconsin 2007)

Facts: Mr. Blasel suffered burns in a propane gas explosion. A brass fitting corroded and propane gas leaked into the home. Soil is known to scrub or take out the odorant and the leaked gas contained no warning agent. The claim was resolved prior to filing a lawsuit.

Settlement: $1,000,000.00

Client v. Propane Retailer (Iowa 2006)

Facts: The Beattie Law Firm client was killed in a propane explosion in Harrison County. The case was based on negligent failure to warn, including the failure to warn about gas detectors.

Settlement: The Beattie Law Firm obtained a confidential six-figure settlement for the Client.

Vega v. Propane Retailer, et. al. (Mississippi 2006)

Facts: Three young children were badly burned when a cat with a litter somehow caused a fuel shutoff valve improperly placed in a wall was opened allowing gas to leak into the home. The children came home from school and the oldest start to cook an afternoon snack. When she lit the stove the leaked gas exploded. The case was defended by the retailer on the basis that it was not a propane gas explosion.

Settlement: The case was settled resulting in a $6,000,000+.

Goehring v. Flying J, et. al. (Idaho Federal Court 2005 Trial)

Facts: Client purchased a 100 pound propane cylinder to provide heat to his house following a storm that knocked the power out to his residence. He took the cylinder home, placed it on the floor and left for two hours. When he returned, he smelled gas and attempted to carry the cylinder out of the house. When he picked up the cylinder, the home exploded.

Settlement: The Beattie Law Firm obtained confidential settlements on behalf of its client.

Booker v. Propane Retailer, et. al. (Michigan 2005 Arbitration)

Facts: Mr. Booker sustained serious burns in a propane gas explosion caused by leaking propane gas. The case was based on negligent failure to warn, including the failure to warn about gas detectors. The case was defended by the retailer by blaming the client for the leak.

Arbitration: The case was tried in state ordered binding arbitration resulting in a $1,500,000 arbitration award.

Swanton v. Defendants (Kansas 2005)

Facts: Three children received serious burns in a propane gas explosion in Kansas. The case was based on negligent failure to warn, negligent testing of the property, and negligent inspection of the property.

Settlement: The Beattie Law Firm obtained a substantial confidential settlement for the children. The settlement amount, however, was limited due to Kansas caps on lawsuits.

Krueger v. Propane Retailer, et. al. (Minnesota 2005)

Facts: Mr. Krueger received serious burns in a propane gas explosion in Minnesota. The case was based on negligent failure to warn, including the need for gas detectors and negligent inspections of the propane gas system.

Settlement: The Beattie Law Firm obtained a $1,800,000 settlement for Mr. Krueger.

Freeland v. Ferrellgas (Michigan 2003 Arbitration)

Facts: A retired couple was burned in a propane gas explosion in Michigan. The husband died as a result of the burns received in the explosion. The wife survived, but she sustained critical burns. The case was based on negligent failure to warn about the defects of odorized propane as well as the retailer’s failure to respond to numerous calls by the Freelands regarding gas leaks.

Arbitration: The case was tried in state ordered binding arbitration resulting in a $8,300,000 arbitration award.

Countryman, et. al. v. Iowa Double Circle, et. al. (Iowa 2002 Trial)

Facts: Seven people were killed, and many others were seriously injured during a family gathering in Richland, Iowa. The home that was the gathering place for the family and friends exploded due to the accumulation of propane gas. The case was based on the negligent failure to warn concerning the dangers of propane and the reasonable measures to take to ameliorate those dangers.

Settlement: Settlement was reached against the propane retailer for the policy limits of $5,000,000 and with the homeowner for $1,300,000. The wholesalers and pipeline settled for a significant confidential amount prior to the start of trial. Trial began against Lennox, the appliance manufacturer, before the case was settled for a substantial confidential amount during voir dire. The press reported total settlements of approximately $17,000,000.

In addition the District Court dismissed during the case a wholesaler based upon the limited liability statute. This was appealed to the Iowa Supreme Court which resulted in a reversal finding that a managing partner to a limited liability corporation can be personally liable.

Olache v. Retailer, et. al. (Iowa 2001 )

Facts: Client was burned when he awoke in a camper and tried to light a cigar. A defective gas valve leaked gas into the camper. The warning odor in propane gas will not warn a person who has just awakened.

Settlement: The Beattie Law Firm obtained a settlement of $800,000 plus on behalf of its client with main defendants before trial.

Bach v. Sapp Bros, et. al. (Iowa 2001 Trial)

Facts: Client purchased a 100 pound propane cylinder to provide heat to his house he was building. The cylinder leaked in the unfinished basement.

Settlement: The Beattie Law Firm obtained a confidential settlement on behalf of its client with main defendants before trial.

Client v. Propane Retailer, et. al. (North Dakota 2001)

Facts: Client purchased a 100 pound propane cylinder to provide heat to his house following a storm that knocked the power out to his residence. He took the cylinder home, placed it on the floor and left for two hours. When he returned, he smelled gas and attempted to carry the cylinder out of the house. When he picked up the cylinder, the home exploded.

Settlement: The Beattie Law Firm obtained a confidential settlement on behalf of its client.

Wickenkamp v. Gas Company (2000)

Fact: A gas explosion occurred near Oskaloosa when the father of a minor boy was attempting to transfer propane from a larger cylinder to a smaller cylinder. Suit was filed based upon failure of the propane gas retailer to adequately warn regarding the dangers of transferring propane from one cylinder to another.

Settlement: After a week’s trial in Polk County District Court a substantial confidential settlement was reached.

Nehrig v. Thermogas et al. (Iowa 2000)

Facts: Two volunteer fire fighters were killed and seven other people were injured when a blazing 18,000 gallon propane tank exploded in Albert City, Iowa. The propane tank lacked adequate collision protection, and the entire propane system design was flawed.

Settlement: The Beattie Law Firm obtained confidential settlements on behalf of their clients.

Robbins v. Ferrellgas (Iowa 1999)

Facts: Mr. Robbins was a construction worker who suffered burns to his hands in a propane gas explosion. The case was based on the negligent failure to warn concerning the dangers of propane and the reasonable measure to take to ameliorate those dangers. In addition the leaked gas was in a concrete pit. The concrete walls of the pit scrubbed the warning odor out of the gas.

Settlement: Total settlement for Mr. Robbins was in excess of $800,000+.

Lawson v. Coop, et. al. (Minn 1998)

Facts: Mrs. Lawson was killed in her sleep from a propane gas explosion. The case against the retailer was brought based on negligent failure to warn concerning the dangers of odorized propane. The warning odor will not warn a sleeping person.

Settlement: The Beattie Law Firm obtained a significant confidential settlement for Mr. Lawson.

Snell v. Pellet (Iowa 1998)

Facts: Snell was burned in a propane gas explosion. Unfortunately for Mr. Snell, he was diagnosed with cancer shortly after the explosion. Therefore, there was little by way of damages.

Settlement: The Beattie Law Firm obtained $400,000 for Mr. Snell.

Mahr v. Coop, et. al. (Minn 1997)

Facts: Mr. Mahr was critically burned in a propane gas explosion in a winter cabin in Wisconsin. The case against the retailer was brought based on negligent failure to warn concerning the dangers of odorized propane.

Settlement: The Beattie Law Firm obtained a significant confidential settlement for Mr. Mahr.

Amberson v. Red Lake Coop, et. al. (Minnesota 1997)

Facts: Mr and Mrs. Amberson, both Native Americans, received burns in a propane gas explosion in Minnesota. The case was brought against based on negligent failure to warn concerning the dangers of odorized propane. There were no lost wages, and there was little by wage of medical treatment. There were also significant issues of comparative fault.

Settlement: Settlement was reached for approximately $600,000.

Stansbeary v. Allied, et. al. (Iowa 1997 Trial)

Facts: Mr. Stansbeary was critically burned in a propane gas explosion near Albia, Iowa. The case against the retailer was brought in Polk County, Iowa based on negligent failure to warn concerning the dangers of odorized propane.

Verdict: The case was tried to a Monroe County jury. The jury awarded Mr. Stansbeary $940,000+ for the clients of The Beattie Law Firm.

Gustin v. Retailer (Iowa 1997 )

Facts: Mr. Gustin was critically burned in a propane gas fire at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. He was using a propane torch when the torch broke and set him on fire. The case was based on negligent failure to warn concerning the dangers of odorized propane and defective maintenance.

Settlement: For a substantial confidential amount.

Jarnigan v. Central Iowa FS, et. al. (Iowa 1996)

Facts: Mr. Jarnigan, a Native American, received moderate burn damages as the result of a propane gas explosion. The case was based on a negligent failure to warn concerning the dangers of odorized propane. Mr. Jarnigan had no lost wages, and there were serious issues of comparative fault.

Settlement: The total settlement exceeded $800,000+.

Chacon v. Cortez (1995)

Fact: Near Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, a corroded propane gas line leaked propane gas into the Chacon home and exploded killing plaintiff’s decedent. The Beattie Law Firm instituted action against the propane retailer for failing to discover the leaking propane gas line and to repair it as well as failing to warn concerning the dangers of propane.

Settlement: this case settled for a substantial confidential settlement

Sneller v. Thermogas (Iowa 1995 Trial)

Facts: Two plumbers were burned in a propane gas explosion in Jasper County. The case was based on negligent failure to warn concerning the dangers of odorized propane.

Verdict: The jury awarded the two men in excess of $950,000+.

Tuttle v. Beaman Corp. (Iowa 1995)

Facts: Two men received moderate burns in a propane explosion in Iowa. The case was based on negligent failure to warn concerning the dangers of odorized propane.

Settlement: The Beattie Law Firm obtained settlement in excess of $1,500,000+.

Fahrbach v. Petrolane (New Mexico 1994 Trial)

Facts: A propane explosion in Taos, New Mexico resulted in severe burn injuries. The case was based on negligent failure to warn concerning the dangers of odorized propane.

Settlement: The case against Heritage settled for $900,000.

Winiger v. Phillips Petroleum (Michigan 1993 Trial)

Facts: A propane explosion in Michigan resulted in burn injuries. The case was based on negligent failure to warn concerning the dangers of odorized propane.

Settlement: Settlement was reached in a substantial confidential amount for the clients of The Beattie Law Firm.

Walter v. Phillips Petroleum (Colorado Federal Court 1992 Trial)

Facts: Two minor children received serious burn injuries in a propane explosion in Colorado. The case was based on the negligent failure to warn about the defects of odorized propane.

Verdict: A Colorado Federal Court jury returned a verdict in favor of the clients of The Beattie Law Firm in the amount of $6,200,000.

Timmens v. Kaneb Pipeline (Nebraska 1991 Trial)

Facts: Mr. Timmens received severe burns as a result of a propane gas explosion in Nebraska. The case was based on the negligent failure to warn about the defects of odorized propane.

Verdict: A Nebraska jury awarded a then-record $1,600,000 verdict to Mr. Timmens.

DeJong, et. al. v. Phillips Petroleum, et. al. (Iowa 1990 Trial)

Facts: Two men were critically burned in a propane explosion in Marion County. The lawsuit was brought against the propane retailer Phillips Petroleum, and the propane appliance manufacturers, based upon negligent failure to warn about the dangers of propane gas.

Verdict: The two men settled against all defendants except for Rheem Manufacturing. A Marion County jury verdict in the amount of $4,100,000+ was awarded. This groundbreaking verdict is believed to be the first time that a jury in the United States found against a propane appliance manufacturer for negligent failure to warn about the dangers of propane.

Myers v. I.T.T. General Controls (Iowa Federal Court 1989 Trial)

Facts: A minor child was burned on the left side of his torso in a propane explosion. The lawsuit was brought a defectively designed and leaking gas valve. The jury was presented with no medical damages because the minor victim received free medical care.

Verdict: The jury awarded in excess of $600,000 for the minor child.