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Image of Honeywell International, Inc. Headquarters in Morris Plains, New Jersey
Honeywell International, Inc. Headquarters in Morris Plains, New Jersey; image courtesy of David Joseph Photography via Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org

A wrongful death lawsuit was filed by the wife of a utility worker who died in a “2017 home explosion in Millersville, PA.” The suit itself was filed by Ross Feller Casey, LLP on behalf of the woman, Kim Bouder, and it names Honeywell International, Inc. and others as defendants. In the suit, Bouder claims in the suit that the defendants were responsible for the fatal explosion. Specifically, the suit “advances claims for product liability relating to Honeywell’s Permalock mechanical tapping tee that connected the natural gas line to the Lancaster County home.”

According to the allegations in the suit, the “tapping tee was defectively designed by Honeywell,” yet it was continuously “sold to consumers without sufficient warnings or instructions for installation.” The lawsuit further claims that the “defects rendered the tapping tee unreasonably dangerous and unsafe because it was overly prone to becoming unsecured from the main gas line which, in turn, led to the severe and explosive gas leak.”

Image of Post Office in Millersville, PA
Post Office in Millersville, PA; image courtesy of Idawriter via Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org

Bouder claims that if it wasn’t for the defects, the catastrophic blast never would have occurred. Because of the defects, the “tapping tee leaked explosive levels of gas that ignited, destroying the Millersville home and killing Bouder,” who was only 54-years-old at the time of the incident. The suit further argues that Honeywell knew ahead of time that the “defects with the tapping tee were responsible for at least two prior explosions from gas leaks, including one involving a fatality.”

In addition to this recent lawsuit, the explosion has been at the center of an “ongoing investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).” Earlier this year in June, the NTSB released a Safety Recommendation Report that linked the “gas leak to deficiencies with Honeywell’s installation instructions as well as fractures in the nylon bolts of the tapping tee.” As a result, the board “made specific recommendations to Honeywell to update the tapping tee’s assembly instructions with more detailed information to ensure correct installation and prevent gas leaks.”

Mrs. Bouder is being represented by Matt Casey, the founding partner of Ross Feller Casey, and attorney John Pinto. When discussing the suit, Casey said:

“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. 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.”

At the moment, Bouder is seeking punitive and compensatory damages against Honeywell. In addition to Honeywell, PPL Corporation, PPL Electric Utilities Corporation, and Contractors Group, Inc., are also named as defendants.

Sources:

Wrongful death lawsuit filed against Honeywell and others in Pennsylvania home explosion

Widow of worker killed in 2017 gas leak at Millersville home files wrongful death lawsuit

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