Firm-Wide blog

Burg Simpson Helps Secure Settlement for Victims of the Merrimack Valley Gas Explosions

By Burg Simpson
August 6, 2019
4 min read


Columbia Gas agrees to pay $143 million to residents and businesses of Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover communities

Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, P.C. has announced that an agreement has been reached between Columbia Gas, its parent company NiSource, Inc., and the lawyers representing multiple groups of plaintiffs in both mass action and class action lawsuits following the Merrimack Valley fires and explosions that rocked the communities of Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover, Massachusetts on September 13, 2018.

“I’m proud and excited to have been part of the small group of attorneys that helped obtain justice and fair compensation for this community,” said Seth A. Katz, shareholder at Burg Simpson. “We’re even more pleased to have achieved this within a time frame that truly helps the people and businesses impacted by the explosions.”

As part of the settlement, which still has to be approved by the Court overseeing the litigation, Columbia Gas and NiSource have agreed to pay $143 million to the businesses and thousands of residents that were impacted by the explosions. Residents will be entitled to recover compensation for the displacement and disruption of their lives this catastrophe caused, as well as property damage not previously paid for by Columbia Gas. Businesses will be able to claim lost income, lost inventory and the loss of goodwill. A Court-supervised mediator will oversee the Columbia Gas-managed claims process, and will continue to do so until the Court gives preliminary approval to the settlement. Following preliminary approval, an independent claims administrator will take over the process.

This settlement is separate from the money paid to the towns to cover infrastructure repairs and other expenses, as well as from the individual claims involving personal injuries and wrongful death. Residents and businesses will be able to submit claims upon the settlement receiving final approval from the Court.

“We are very pleased to be part this settlement on behalf of our clients and the other residents and businesses in the Merrimack Valley,” said Michael Burg, founding partner of Burg Simpson. ”We are honored to have represented and provided a voice for those individuals and businesses affected by this tragedy, and hope that this event will encourage gas companies to employ safe practices to help prevent something like this from happening in the future.”

Burg, who is one of America’s leading trial lawyers, and his team have significant experience handling cases for victims of gas explosions and have received multi-million dollar verdicts in these types of cases. Burg has decades of experience litigating complex cases and continues to be dedicated to holding those responsible for the blasts accountable.

About Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine
One of America’s foremost plaintiff trial firms, Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine has a reputation for fighting relentlessly and successfully for victims of negligence, malfeasance, malpractice, and abuse. Specializing in mass torts and class action litigation, Burg Simpson has secured more than $1 billion in verdicts, settlements, and judgments in practice areas spanning dangerous pharmaceutical drugs and devices, medical malpractice, personal injury, commercial litigation and whistleblowers, construction defects, workers’ compensation, and product liability. This includes more than 100 recoveries in excess of $1 million. The firm has been named one of America’s 25 Most Influential Law Firms of 2016 by The Trial Lawyer magazine.

The firm was founded in 1976 by distinguished American trial lawyer Michael Burg, an inductee in the Trial Lawyers Hall of Fame who has been named to the 2016 RoundTable: America’s 50 Most Influential Trial Lawyers by The Trial Lawyer magazine; Barrister’s Best 2016 “Best Civil Litigator”; one of “America’s 50 Leading Trial Lawyers” by The U.S. Legal 500; and recipient of the Clarence Darrow Award. In 1999, Burg merged his firm with former Wyoming Republican Senator Alan K. Simpson’s firm. Senator Simpson is a former Republican whip and Smithsonian Institute regent who was appointed co-chair of the National Committee on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform by President Obama. Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine has offices in six U.S. cities, with more than 60 top-tier attorneys dedicated to fighting for legal rights and to change people’s lives.

Burg Simpson: Good Lawyers, Changing Lives®.

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