PSB Obtains $10.65 Million Settlement for Man Burned in Residential Gas Explosion

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Panish Shea & Boyle LLP attorneys Lyssa Roberts and Paul Traina obtained a $10,650,000 settlement for a man who suffered catastrophic burns as a result of an explosion due to a gas leak. A stress fracture developed in a pipe installed, maintained and controlled by Southern California Gas Company, leaking natural gas that ultimately seeped into and filled the garage of the Ontario, CA townhome where Plaintiff Andrew Martinez resided with his family. When the husband and father of three went into the garage to smoke, ignition of his lighter caused the gas to combust, blowing off the garage door, lifting Mr. Martinez off his feet and throwing him into the street. As a result of the gas explosion, Mr. Martinez suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns to his body and face. He underwent numerous surgeries for bilateral upper extremity debridement and skin grafting from his lower bilateral extremity donor sites and continues to suffer from scaring, contractures and PTSD as a result of the explosion.

Evidence showed that Park Francis Townhome Owners Association (HOA) and Condominium Management Services (CMS) knew of a possible natural gas leak immediately adjacent to the Plaintiffs’ townhome as a result of a walk-through inspection in the months prior to the incident but breached their duty of care by failing to report the smell of natural gas to the gas company during their inspection. Defendants settled the case with Plaintiff for $10,650,000 with $10,150,000 to be paid by Southern California Gas Company and $500,000 from HOA and CMS.