Court Rules on Gas Company’s Liability in Georgia Gas Explosion Accident

In a recent Georgia appellate case, a plaintiff appealed a trial court’s summary judgment motion in favor of Atlanta Gas Light Company (AGL). Following a natural gas explosion, the plaintiff filed a personal injury and wrongful death lawsuit against AGL. The record shows that a woman owed a rental home and in preparation for new tenants, she called the company to set up gas service at the residence. Before turning on gas service, the company sent a field specialist to conduct a safety check on the residence’s fuel line and appliances. During the inspection, he noticed that the supply line improperly led to the furnace, the gas line lacked a sediment trap, and the thermostat was inoperable. Based on his inspections, he turned off the supply valve and posted a warning that explained that the owner should not connect or use the appliance until it underwent repairs.

Shortly afterward, the owner’s step-son went to the property to prepare for new tenants when he noticed the warning and that the property did not have hot water. The owner contacted a repair service to fix the furnace. The technician noticed the warning, inspected the appliances, and returned to perform the work. However, the technician improperly completed the job, and the house experienced a gas explosion about nine months after AGL turned the gas on. The plaintiff suffered severe injuries, and two of her family members died in the blast.

The woman filed a lawsuit against the repair company and AGL. The repair company settled its case with the woman, and AGL moved for summary judgment, arguing that they did not breach their duty to the woman.

Generally, Georgia law requires negligence plaintiffs to establish that the defendant owed them a legal duty, they breached that duty, and there was a causal connection between the defendant’s actions and the victim’s actual harm. In cases involving a natural gas supplier, Georgia recognizes that absent actual knowledge of a dangerous condition, gas suppliers are not generally liable beyond the meter and service pipes. These companies are not liable for the conditions of appliances or responsible to a third party for injuries related to a defective appliance.

According to the court, in this case, it was clear that the explosion was the result of a hole in the gas line that developed over time after the technician incorrectly installed it. AGL did not have notice of any improper repair, and the technician repaired the specific issue that they noted. The court found that the technicians’ improper repair cannot be attributed to AGL, and based on this fact, the defendant was not liable.

Have You Suffered Injuries Because of a Negligent Home Repair Technician in Georgia?

If you or someone you know has suffered injuries in a Georgia construction accident or because of a negligent home repair technician you should contact the injury attorneys at McAleer Law. The attorneys at our law firm have represented countless injury victims and their families against negligent defendants. We have recovered significant amounts of compensation on behalf of our clients, including payments for medical bills, ongoing medical treatments, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact our office at 404-622-5337 to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney at our law firm.

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