MGE employee injured in JJ's explosion files lawsuit

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The lawsuits continue to fly surrounding the Feb. 19 explosion and fire at JJ's restaurant near the Country Club Plaza.

Michael Palier, of Richmond, Mo., filed a lawsuit Wednesday alleging two counts of negligence against Heartland Midwest, LLC, Heartland Midwest employee Michael Tanner, Time Warner Cable Media, and Time Warner Entertainment-Advance/Newhouse.

Palier is an employee of Missouri Gas Energy. He was working to repair a gas line that was struck by a contractor laying fiber optic cable near 48th Street and Belleview Avenue when JJ's exploded.

Palier's lawsuit alleges Heartland and Tanner misinterpreted markings done by USIC – a location and marking service – and struck a gas pipe with its boring machine.  

The lawsuit also states that after arriving on the scene on behalf of MGE, Palier had multiple conversations with Heartland employees, who he alleges gave him erroneous information as to the time in which the gas line was initially struck.

Read the lawsuit |

Palier also said he never entered JJ's restaurant or any other nearby buildings, which contradicts statements in other lawsuits. He also states he never spoke with any member of the Kansas City, Mo. Fire Department, and did not know they were on the scene prior to his arrival.

Palier's lawsuit states he suffered injuries to nearly his entire body, including severe burns to his face.

Wednesday's lawsuit filing comes as the Missouri Public Service Commission continues to investigate the events that led to the February explosion.

MPSC filed a status update Wednesday, which stated that on July 8 and 9, a ground penetrating radar unit was run over the slab area of JJ's restaurant to collect data and to identify underground structures. MPSC staff has not yet interpreted that data.  

Read the MPSC status update |

Also, the bore head and locating equipment that were used the day of the explosion were returned to the site and were tested and verified.     

MPSC staff have completed their on-site investigation. They are now waiting on further information from MGE. They plan to file another status report on or before Aug. 27.

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