Gas Explosion Victims To Receive Settlement Checks

More than two and a half years after gas explosions rocked Fairport Harbor due to over pressurized gas lines, the victims may finally be getting their settlement checks. On January 24, 2011, residents of Fairport Harbor awoke to a nightmarish scenario, with explosions, calls for evacuation, and fires. The danger was caused by gas lines maintained and operated by Dominion East Ohio Gas, and in the aftermath, 10 buildings were destroyed and more than 1,500 residents were forced to evacuate. Soon after, a class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of those affected in the incident.

The law suit against Dominion East Ohio and controlling company, East Ohio Gas, eventually resulted in an out-of-court settlement for $500,000. Now, more than a year after the settlement was reached, the plaintiffs in the class action suit may finally receive their settlement funds. Judge Richard Collins of Lake County Common Pleas Court met with attorneys from the three law firms involved Thursday and discussed how and at what time the settlement funds would be distributed.

According to attorney John Burnett of the DiCello Law Firm, Judge Collins issued orders promoting a quick distribution of the settlement funds. Judge Collins noted that the distribution process had already been delayed by the departure of the previous claims administrator from the DiCello Law Firm and the subsequent appointment of Burnett as his replacement. The delays in the distribution process have been significant, as funds were originally supposed to have been provided to the plaintiffs in the case at the end of 2012. If Judge Collins’ recent course of action is not followed, another year may come and go without Fairport Harbor Residents seeing their settlement funds.

As per this most recent meeting, the plan is to distribute funds as soon as possible, so those involved with the case will be working hard to make sure settlement distribution occurs in a timely manner. Once the distribution begins, the final chapter in the almost three-year-long story will be set in motion, with those affected finally being offered compensation and a sense of closure.