We are pleased to report Class Action lawsuits filed by Brian Cunha and Associates and other attorneys stemming from the natural gas explosions in Massachusetts, has been settled for $143 million, against Columbia Gas, the utility blamed for the disaster.
The settlement is subject to the approval of a judge, according to Brian Cunha.The explosions and fires in the Merrimack Valley communities of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover on September 13,2018 killed one person, injured about 25 others, and damaged or destroyed more than 100 buildings. Many people were forced into temporary shelter, and thousands of homes and businesses went without natural gas service for weeks and even months during the winter.
“Families suffered for months in the gripping cold. Businesses shuttered and lives were upended.” Brian Cunha attorney for the plaintiffs said in a statement.
The explosions were blamed on an over pressurization of gas transmission lines during routine replacement. The National Transportation Safety Board is continuing its investigation.
The agreement is separate from an $80 million settlement reached in May with the three communities to address infrastructure damage.
“I don’t’ think anything can ever be fair to a community where so many people lost family members, lost homes, lost livelihoods,” Gov. Charlie Baker responded when asked.
Baker added that victims of the disaster were well represented in negotiations with the utility, “and if they believe that was a deal worth signing, I’m going to side with them on that.”
NiSource has so far spent about $1 billion responding to the disaster, the company said.
Residents of the three communities will be entitled to recover compensation for disruption of their lives and property damage not previously covered, according to Brian Cunha. Businesses will be
able to claim lost income and lost inventory.
Brian Cunha & Associates is presently proceeding on a second class action lawsuit in Newport Rhode Island against National grid and it natural Gas supplier Enbridge Corp., a Canadian based company, as a result of the loss of natural gas service to the community in January 2019. That case is proceeding though litigation.