Attorney for JJ's employees files lawsuit against five companies, one individual

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The attorneys representing victims from JJ's Restaurant have filed a lawsuit against six companies and one individual following the explosion on the Country Club Plaza.

Missouri Gas Energy, Michael Pailer, Heartland Midwest, Time Warner Cable, Missouri One Call System, Inc. and USIC Locating Services are all named as defendants in the suit.

The lawsuit alleges that Missouri Gas Energy should have evacuated people much earlier.

"Well, against Missouri Gas Energy, the allegation is they came there, and they should have evacuated people. And they did not," Attorney Grant Davis said. "In fact, they told people they could stay. They told people up and down the block, including the people in JJ's that there was no danger -- that everything was under control, and they didn't need to leave."

The lawsuit states MGE employees detected gas in structures at a level that would require evacuation, but says they failed to order a timely evacuation or communicate an urgent need to leave buildings. Each of the six plaintiffs in the lawsuit were working at JJ's at the time of the explosion.

41 Action News has reached out to the defendants for comment. Jason Fulp, representing MGE, said "We will not comment on any pending litigation."

READ | Lawsuit filed by JJ's employees: http://tinyurl.com/9w7uv9h

Davis said there was confusion between the boring company and the marking company. 

"The combination of their neglegent conduct caused the drilling bore to go right into the gas line," Davis said.

Missouri One Call Executive Director John Lansford said he was not aware of the suit but said he was surprised his company was named in it.

"I think we're thrown in the hat with everybody else," Lansford said.

Brad Russell, the attorney for the boring company -- Heartland Midwest, LLC -- said he would not comment.

Davis said he would not address the injuries sustained by the plaintiffs, but details in the lawsuit include lacerations and burns to each of the plaintiff's bodies. The lawsuit also states the plaintiffs are suffering from psychological and emotional injuries.

Time Warner Cable issued the following statement:

"The investigation into this tragedy is ongoing.  This lawsuit, or any comment about it, is premature until the investigation is complete and we know the facts."

Davis said the bottom line for his clients is the lack of evacuation.

"What the industry standard for protocols for what to do in this situation was not followed," Davis said. "And the key thing is they didn't evacuate people. In fact, they did the opposite of evacuate people. They told people they were safe to stay where they are."

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