Among other things, the lawsuit alleges that Honeywell’s Permalock tapping tee, a component that attaches the natural gas line to the home, was defectively produced, came without sufficient warnings or instructions and was improperly installed by a contractor. Also, the suit alleges that PPL failed to shut off power to the home.
As a result, a summer day on a quiet cul-de-sac was shattered by a catastrophic blast at 206 Springdale Lane in Millersville, Pa., killing Richard Bouder, 54, a UGI technician who responded to the home after an emergency call for leaking gas.
Ross Feller Casey founding partner Matt Casey filed the lawsuit on behalf of Bouder’s widow, Kim Bouder.
“We will prove that Honeywell knew that the tapping tee was defective, both in its design and instructions, and that Honeywell was aware of the tendencies for the product to cause a catastrophic and fatal explosion from a natural gas leak,” said Casey, widely regarding among the nation’s preeminent catastrophic injury litigators. “This product should never have made its way to the market, and Honeywell failed to take sufficient actions to remedy the defects. Kim Bouder’s husband went to work that day and never came home.”
According to the lawsuit filed in Philadelphia, the tapping tee was defective and hazardous, in part, because it “utilized nylon bolts as its connection that were deficient in strength and overly susceptible to failure, fatigue and fracture with normal and expected usage.” Additionally, instructions provided by Honeywell never specified what torque levels or tools to use for the safe installation of the tapping tee.
Honeywell, the suit alleges, had known for years of the defective nature of the tapping tee used in the home as the same or similar models had been identified as the cause of several other explosions dating to 2006.
PPL and the company that installed the tapping tee, Contractors Group, Inc., are also named as defendants. The lawsuit alleges that power was not shut off to the house and the neighborhood until after the explosion and that Contractors Group, Inc., of Wilkes-Barre, failed to properly install the tapping tee.
The fatal explosion remains the subject of an ongoing investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board. The NTSB in June issued a Safety Recommendation Report that attributed the gas leak to deficiencies with Honeywell’s installation instructions as well as fractures in the nylon bolts. The agency issued specific recommendations to Honeywell to update its instructions to prevent future gas leaks.
The lawsuit drew widespread media coverage.
Read the Lancaster Online story
Read the Harrisburg Patriot-News story