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Eight settle claims over Kanawha County gas pipeline explosion

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Eight people have settled their claims against NiSource and its subsidiary Columbia Gas over asserted damages sustained from last year's gas pipeline explosion in Sissonville, an attorney with the case recently confirmed.

Filed July 29 by Warner Law Offices, the seven suits all listed the defendants as Columbia Gas Transmission LLC, NiSource Gas Transmission and Storage Company, NiSource Midstream Services LLC, NiSource Energy Ventures LLC, NiSource Corporate Services Company, William Christian, Jack Whitmire Jr., Mitchell Thomas, Daniel Herpin and John Does 1-10.

All suits alleged negligence to all defendants, willful, wanton, reckless conduct as to all defendants and negligent training, management and/or supervision.

Plaintiffs Tina White, Darell Sigmon, Lorie Estep, Dorma Harrison, Shelby McMillion and Amy McMillion and her two minor children have reached confidential settlements.

The case, brought by Margaret Johnson, will go forward with litigation. In her case, Johnson said she was sitting in her Sissonville Drive Home when the pipeline ruptured.

In her suit, she said as soon as she saw flames around her home, she ran barefoot across her front deck to her car, sustaining burns and blisters in the process.

When she got to her car, the suit continues, she reached out for the hot door handle but jerked her hand away from the heat causing the tendons in her thumb to be injured, later requiring surgery.

After the filing of these suits, Columbia Gas released the following statement in response:

"Since the incident in Sissonville, WV took place, Columbia Pipeline Group has settled with and provided compensation to over 40 families impacted. Our legal and insurance teams continue to work with families — and in some cases, their personal attorneys — to settle any remaining claims. As we have since the moment this incident occurred, we are committed to working with those families in a fair and reasonable manner. 

"Columbia took immediate action following the incident in Sissonville to ensure that basic essentials, including temporary housing, food, and transportation were provided to the affected community.  

"In addition to attending to local families, in the hours, days and weeks after the incident, we partnered with the regional office of the Red Cross — to tap into their special expertise, provide additional support for those in need. 

Again, our legal and insurance teams will continue to work with families to settle the remaining claims in a fair and reasonable manner."