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$________ The home explodes shortly after gas company was working in the area on a service line - Home and its contents completely destroyed.

Porter County, Indiana

In this utility company negligence case, the plaintiffs’ home exploded from a build-up of natural gas that occurred shortly after the defendant’s workers had been working in the area on a service line. The house and its contents were completely destroyed.

In November ________, the plaintiffs were out of their home, eating dinner. The house, suddenly and without warning, exploded following a build-up of natural gas. The entire house and its contents were destroyed by the explosion. The plaintiffs brought suit against the Northern Indiana Public Service Company alleging negligence since the utility company’s employees were working on a service line in the area only days prior to the explosion. The defendant company initially admitted that its crew had damaged an underground plastic service line, which resulted in natural gas migration through the soil and into the couples’ home through its foundation.

The defendant recanted its original admission of liability and claimed that the plaintiff was partially at fault since the plaintiff had allegedly been working on the gas meter and loosened a joint. The plaintiff argued that the joint came loose as a result of the explosion which was believed to have been ignited when the furnace turned on.

After a five-day trial, the jury deliberated for eight and a half hours for the compensatory portion of the case and two and a half hours for the punitive damages portion of the case. The jury returned their verdict in favor of the plaintiffs and against the defendant. The verdict consisted of $________ in compensatory damages to the plaintiff and $________ in punitive damages. Under Indiana law, 75 percent of any punitive damage award is paid to the state Victim’s Compensation Fund.

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