MINNEAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Attorneys from Minneapolis law firms Pritzker Hageman, P.A. and Yaeger & Weiner, PLC, filed a lawsuit (case file num. 27-CV-17-16285) on behalf of the family of Ruth Berg, who tragically died in a natural gas explosion on August 2, 2017 at Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Defendants include CenterPoint Energy Inc., CenterPoint Energy Resources Corp., CenterPoint Energy Services, Inc., and Master Mechanical Inc., a Minnesota mechanical contracting corporation.
On August 2, 2017 at approximately 10:22 a.m., a building located on the North Campus of the Minnehaha Academy campus was destroyed by a natural gas explosion. Ruth Berg, a longtime Minnehaha Academy employee and a beloved member of the Minnehaha Academy family, was one of two people killed in the blast.
At the time of the explosion, employees of Master Mechanical were in the process of removing a gas meter from the inside of one of the Minnehaha Academy buildings and re-piping and relocating it to the outside of the building. According to documents filed with the court, the work being performed at Minnehaha Academy by Master Mechanical was part of CenterPoint’s plan to move gas meters outside for easier access.
“This lawsuit will help bring to light how CenterPoint’s project of moving a gas meter to the outside of the building ended up costing two people their lives, and causing severe injuries to many others,” said Michael Weiner.
The lawsuit alleges that, before disconnecting the service line from the old meter, shut-off valves upstream from the meter were not inspected or safely closed off. According to the Complaint, the failure to close these shut-off valves meant that as soon as Master Mechanical disconnected the supply line from the meter, “gas under operating pressure would immediately flow out of the supply pipe into the confined pit area where it would accumulate and explode.” In addition, the lawsuit alleges that CenterPoint had failed to install an Excess Flow Valve (EFV) or curb valve on the service line of the gas piping system, which would have instantaneously shut off the flow of gas and prevented the explosion.
The Master Mechanical workers ran to save themselves and did not alert people inside the building of the need to evacuate, according to the complaint.
“This explosion should never have happened. It caused the death of a loving mother, daughter and sister. Through this lawsuit we seek justice for the family and to hold accountable those responsible,” said Greg Yaeger.
Attorneys from both firms represent families in cases involving injury and wrongful death caused by gas explosions. Attorneys Fred Pritzker and Eric Hageman can be contacted at 612-338-0202 or via the Pritzker Hageman, P.A. website, https://www.pritzkerlaw.com/. The law firm’s offices are located at 45 South 7th Street, Suite 2950, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55402. Attorneys Gregory Yaeger and Michael Weiner can be contacted at 612- 345-9797 or via the Yaeger & Weiner Law website, http://www.yw-law.com/. The law firm’s offices are located at 2701 University Ave SE, Suite 202, Minneapolis, MN 55414.