Lawyers representing victims of the deadly Gate City Alagasco gas pipe explosion say they are ready to meet gas company in court to hold it accountable for the December, 2013 tragedy that killed 40 year old Tyrennis Mabry.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released its long-awaited investigative report March 31, 2016. Lawyers representing Ms. Mabry’s family say the NTSB report confirms what they had long suspected, that a corroded Alagasco pipe caused the explosion.
“Alagasco is lucky there is no criminal prosecution in this situation. Alagasco’s gross neglect is directly responsible for the death of Tyrennis Mabry and the injuries suffered by many others. We hold the gas company accountable for this tragedy and we are committed to securing justice for the victims,” said attorney Rick DiGiorgio of Cory Watson Attorneys. DiGiorgio and the firm represent the estate of Tyrennis Mabry and Ms. Mabry’s mother and sons who suffered extensive injuries in the explosion that led to the collapse of their two story apartment building at Marks Village. Marks Village is a public housing community in the Gate City community of Birmingham. Residents had complained of suspected gas leaks in Marks Village prior to the explosion, but say their concerns had been ignored.
DiGiorgio points out that the family’s pursuit of justice has been in a holding pattern for more than two years as attorneys and the courts awaited release of the official NTSB probe. The release of the report clears the way for the legal investigation to proceed. “We look forward to depositions, and the opportunity to talk directly with Alagasco officials and employees who are responsible for the maintenance and safety of the natural gas distribution system. In 1991 they were advised to inspect and replace aging and damaged cast iron pipes, but it didn’t happen. They failed in their duty to their customers and the public, and as a result, Tyrennis Mabry was killed, “ said DiGiorgio.
The natural gas distribution system in Marks Village was installed in 1951 . The lawsuit states Alagasco had a duty to safely operate and maintain the system and claims Alagasco breached its duty by negligently failing to:
– Test, inspect, repair, maintain, rehabilitate and replace aging cast iron natural gas pipeline facilities owned and operated by Alagasco.
– Adequately and completely investigate reports and complaints of natural gas leaks and natural gas odors in Marks Village where Tyrennis Mabry and her family lived.
– Detect leaks, cracks, loss of integrity, and other weaknesses in the natural gas pipeline facilities in Marks Village.
– Warn and/or protect Mabry and her family and others that lived in Marks Village, of the dangerous condition of the natural gas pipeline facilities in close proximity to their homes.
The suit also names the Housing Authority of the Birmingham District as a defendant in the suit, but plaintiffs’ attorneys say the gas company bears responsibility for the safety and maintenance of its natural gas distribution systems.
About Cory Watson
Cory Watson, P.C. is a Birmingham, Alabama personal injury law firm recognized nationally for its practice in complex litigation including multidistrict litigation, class actions, products liability, business and securities litigation, environmental litigation and mass torts litigation of defective medical devices and pharmaceutical drugs.