This case involves a Plaintiff who suffered injuries when an underground gas line, that was leaking for an extended period of time, exploded underneath his house. The line was close to 100 years old, and was discovered to be corroded and rusted when it was examined after the accident. The explosion completely destroyed the Plaintiff’s house, and caused significant structural damage to the homes of several of his neighbors as well. It was alleged that the gas company that owned the gas line was responsible for preventing accidents of this nature, either through regular maintenance or the replacement of old and corroded infrastructure. The company was additionally behind on its royalty payments, and they were sued for industry negligence.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Please briefly describe your familiarity with the above subject matter.
- 2. Are you able to discuss the "standard of care" for gas companies as it relates to the remediation of leaking, old, and corroded gas lines?
Expert Witness Response E-006754
I have been involved in investigations and reviews of similar incidents. I have also been involved in policy development for the prevention of similar events at gas utilities. I am a past Chairperson of New Your State Public Utility Safety Directors Association, and I am very familiar with leaking gas distribution lines operated by public utilities. If the gas company owned the line they had an obligation to inspect, maintain and replace corroded lines. If it was owned by the homeowner (as is sometimes the case) the utility also had a responsibility to potentially inspect and/warn of potentially corroded lines. Several factors are involved in making a liability determination and additional facts need to be considered, such as: was the leak actually at the street? Was the utility involved prior to the incident? What were the inspection and maintenance requirements of the utility? was the utility advised of the condition prior to the incident?