Doe v. Roe Company & Moe Contractors – $14.5M

Personal Injury & Wrongful Death

Case Summary:

A settlement in excess of $14.5 million dollars for a personal injury case. Our client was providing construction related services in a building in downtown San Diego. The Defendant failed to provide properly odorized natural gas to the building resulting in a massive explosion in May, 2008. Our client suffered third degree burns to his face, head, arms, hands and upper body. The explosion occurred when a large amount of natural gas escaped into the building and since it was not odorized properly it accumulated undetected until presumably an electrical spark set it off.

Plaintiff’s Medical Expert Witness:
Daniel Lozano, MD, 5571 Covered Bridge Circle, Orefield, PA 18069, 610-398-1615 telephone, 610-395-7925 fax
Nancy Ellen Markel, Ph.D., Clinical Neuropsychology, 8950 Villa La Jolla Drive, Ste. A108, La Jolla, CA 92037, 858-452-9940, c: 858.735.5750
Sharon Kawai, M.D. [rehab doctor], 681 Green Acre Drive, Fullerton, CA 92835, (714) 871-3280, (714) 449-3340
Robert B. Hall, PhD., Rehabilitation Consultants, 8580 La Mesa Blvd #101, La Mesa, CA, 91941, (619) 463-9334

Defendant’s Medical Expert Witness: Confidential

Plaintiff’s Technical Expert Witness:
Edward Saltzberg, P.E., Edward Saltzberg & Associates, 14733 Oxnard Street, Van Nuys, CA 91411-3122, (818) 994-2613
Ronald A. Marks, P.E., R.A. Marks & Associates, 143 Saddlebow Road, Bell Canyon, CA 91307, (818) 226-9012
John M. Freeman, M.S, P.E., Advanced Engineering Investigations Corp., 2175 South Jasmine Street, Ste. 1200, Denver, CO 80222, (877) 937-2900
Raymond Guenther, Ph.D., Professor of Physics, Coordinator of Materials Science Research Program,
University of Nebraska at Omaha, 6001 Dodge Street, Omaha, NE 68182
William J. Tomes, Telgian Corporation, 900 Circle 75 Parkway, Ste. 680, Atlanta, GA 30339
Ruston Hunt, Ph.D., 5833 Revington Drive, Norcross, GA 30092, (770) 356-8846
Roberta Spoon, CPA, Brodshatzer, Wallace, Spoon & Yip, 555 West Beech Street, Suite 400 , San Diego, CA 92101-2940, (619) 234-4173

Defendant’s Insurance: Confidential

Date, Time and Place of Incident(s): May 2008, in Downtown, San Diego, California

Facts and Background:

In May, 2008 an explosion occurred at a building under construction in downtown San Diego. Plaintiff, John Doe was employed to provide construction related services at this building. While working in the building, Plaintiff was severely injured in a natural gas explosion. Plaintiff suffered third degree burns to his face, head, arms, hands and upper body. The explosion occurred when a large amount of natural gas escaped into the building and was then ignited, presumably through an electrical charge. Plaintiff alleged that he could not smell the gas in the building which allowed for the large accumulation and subsequent explosion.

Plaintiff’s Contentions, Allegations:
Defendants failed to provide properly odorized gas to the building, which allowed the gas to accumulate in the building undetected, and ultimately caused an explosion that leveled five stories and cause severe burns and brain trauma to Plaintiff. Plaintiff further alleged that Moe Contractors and suppliers involved in the transmission of gas piping and gas equipment in the building violated non-delegable duties with respect to work performed in the building and said violations contributed to causing the explosion.

Injuries and/or Damages:
As a result of the explosion, Plaintiff suffered 3rd degree burns over 40% of his body. He was put into a medically induced coma for six weeks. He was forced to re-learn how to walk and was required to wear a burn suit for over one year. He remains unable to clench his fingers or make a fist. Plaintiff suffered brain trauma, depression and post traumatic stress disorder.

Roe Company contended that they had no duty to warn customers of the dangers of deodorized gas. Moe Contractors contended that they did not violate any non-delegable duties with respect to the work performed on the gas piping and boilers in the mechanical room and further contended they had no duty to warn of the dangers of odor fade.

Past Medicals: $983,923
Past Loss of Earnings: $107,010
Future Loss of Earnings: $665,839
Future Vocational Costs: $17,500
Future Medicals: $4,153,889

Settlement Amounts:
Including contribution from Roe Company and Moe Contractors – $14.25 million. Total settlement, including future benefits from annuities purchased with settlement funds, will be in excess of $20 million.

Verdict or Award: Settled

Attorney for Plaintiffs: Vincent J. Barolotta, Jr. and Brett J. Schreiber

Attorney for Defendant: Confidential

Individual Plaintiffs: John Doe

Individual Defendants: Roe Company, Moe Contractor & Subcontractors

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