Yes, you can file an Enbridge explosion lawsuit for wrongful deaths and burn injuries. Explosion lawsuits are pending in Kentucky and elsewhere. In Minnesota, the federal Department of Transportation fined Enbridge Energy $2.4 million for a pipeline explosion and fire that killed two workers.
Canadian-based Enbridge Inc. is the largest energy infrastructure company in North America, generating an annual profit in 2019 of more than $5 billion. But in August 2019, an Enbridge pipeline exploded on a hillside in eastern Kentucky. It left one woman dead and six other people were hospitalized for burns. It was the second explosion on the same network of pipes in less than a year, leading to litigation. Just a few years earlier, the explosion legal team at Pritzker Hageman, led by attorneys Fred Pritzker and Eric Hageman, represented a Pennsylvania man who was severely burned in a 2016 Enbridge pipeline explosion.
Explosion lawyer Fred Pritzker was interviewed by the Kentucky media after the pipeline explosion death of 58-year-old Lisa Denise Derringer.
“If operators aren’t careful, it may only be a matter of time before the next disaster,” Fred told the Courier-Journal. He said, aging natural gas pipelines are incredibly risk-sensitive. “If you don’t do the maintenance or inspection and ignore the signs, you’re going to have a catastrophe like this one.”
Enbridge mentioned the tragedy in its own annual report to shareholders and admitted that its pipeline operations pose a safety risk to the public. “Several of our pipelines and distribution systems and related assets are operated in close proximity to populated areas and a major incident could result in injury or loss of life to members of the public,’’ Enbridge said in the annual report.
In the deadly Enbridge blast in Kentucky, the Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) reviewed eight years of in-line inspection data on the section of pipe that exploded. The agency found evidence of defects in the failed pipe joint and it said the company’s own inspection reports prior to the explosion showed ten hard spots, or weaknesses, in the pipeline. The victims were in or near the Indian Camp Mobile Home Community.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) also investigated the Enbridge blast. The agency noted that the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration issued a corrective action order to Enbridge.
Newspapers reported that the same pipeline — the Texas Eastern — has had more than two dozen “significant incidents’’ since 1985, including nine deaths. Four years ago, Enbridge agreed to pay $62 million in civil penalties for a massive oil spill in Michigan. The Enbridge lawsuit was brought by the federal government.
The state of Michigan also sued Enbridge, collecting $5 million as mitigation for damage to a watershed that includes the Kalamazoo River. As a result of the Michigan spill and another Enbridge spill in Illinois, the Company in 2017 vowed to improve pipeline safety under a consent decree with the U.S. Justice Department.
Now the government is saying Enbridge violated the decree by failing to fix pipeline safety issues in a timely manner on a pipeline that runs through Minnesota and Wisconsin. As a result, Enbridge in 2020 paid a $6.7 million fine. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency levied the fine. The EPA noted among other things that Enbridge neglected to properly evaluate thousands of “shallow dents” on its Lakehead Pipeline System.
Fred and Eric have been representing victims of gas explosions for over 40 years. Together, they have achieved multiple settlements for burn survivors exceeding $10 million each. In one natural gas pipeline explosion, Fred and Eric obtained a settlement of more than $40 million for a severely burned victim and his wife.