Also Asks Former NTSB Chairman to Head Independent Probe
FAIRPORT, Ohio, Feb. 9, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The DiCello Firm, representing victims of the devastating gas explosions in Fairport Harbor, is asking the Lake County Court of Common Pleas to appoint a "special master" to oversee the complex claims process for the more than 1500 affected customers of the Dominion East Ohio Gas Company. Simultaneously, the Firm is requesting that the overseer tap James Hall, the former Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to lead an independent investigation of the January 24 incident that resulted in the destruction of several buildings, including an apartment complex.
The NTSB is currently overseeing the investigation of a similar catastrophic gas explosion involving Pacific Gas and Electric that killed eight people in San Bruno, California near San Francisco. Hall is advising the municipality in that matter.
Mark A. DiCello, Esq. is alleging in the Complaint (Case No. 11CV000261) his office filed that the explosions were caused by Dominion's negligence that allowed an unsafe build-up of pressure, and failure of the pressure regulators, in the natural gas lines feeding the community of Fairport Harbor. He is requesting immediate Court intervention, because, according to his Motion, the citizens need to have complete confidence in the manner in which filed claims are administered and just compensation provided.
DiCello said, "It is a shame that Dominion's corporate position is that it will not pay out of pocket costs without first forcing victims to sign away their legal rights." He says court intervention is urgently needed to install a special master to determine victims' claims rather than Dominion.
"This is the same approach that has been successfully implemented in the BP-Gulf accident," he explained. "The victims must have trust and confidence in the process and Dominion has yet to earn that based on its actions." DiCello also wants the utility, part of the $25 billion Dominion Natural Resources (D:NYSE) conglomerate, to do nothing to impede the claims process.
In urging the appointment of former Chairman Hall, DiCello explained, "Former Chairman Hall is exactly the kind of unbiased expert necessary to represent the victims who are deeply troubled by the utility's failure to answer their most basic questions about what happened and why."
DiCello said the suffering continues while the company spins excuses, apologizing for the "inconvenience". After having met with many of the victims, he said, "They haven't been inconvenienced; they're going through a living hell. Inconvenience is your bus being delayed or having to stand in line at a bank."
About The DiCello Firm
The Mentor-based DiCello Firm has aggressively and effectively been representing victims in catastrophic personal injury cases, often filed as class action / mass tort actions in state and Federal courts, for nearly 40 years. The Firm is recognized for obtaining significant results in major cases across the U.S.
SOURCE The DiCello Law Firm