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Appeals court upholds ruling in JJ's explosion, forces Time Warner to pay

Posted at 6:03 AM, Nov 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-22 08:27:46-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - -Time Warner Cable lost its appeal and must now pay JJ's Restaurant roughly $3 million for the cable company's role in the explosion that killed one person and destroyed the restaurant back in February 2013. 

The three-judge panel in the Missouri Court of Appeals handed down its ruling Tuesday. The judges wrote, "finding no reversible error, we affirm [the lower court's ruling]."

In November 2015, a Jackson County court ordered Time Warner Cable to pay the owners of JJ's Restaurant $3 million dollars as part of a civil lawsuit. Jurors came to the conclusion Time Warner Cable was 98 percent responsible for the explosion. 

The cable company had hired a contractor to install fiber optic cables in the public right of way near JJ's Restaurant on the corner of 48th Street and Belleview Avenue west of the Plaza. 

Investigators determined the contractor hit a natural gas pipeline while installing the cable. Natural gas then filled JJ's where something inside the restaurant sparked a fire, leading to the explosion.

JJ's employee Megan Cramer died in the incident. 

JJ's sued a variety of contractors, many of which settled. Time Warner Cable has fought the lawsuit for the past four years, including taking the case to trial.

In this latest appeal, Time Warner Cable argued jurors received improper directions during the trial and argued this led to the wrong verdict. The panel, however, ruled that the "trial court did not err."

Since the explosion, JJ's Restaurant has reopened in the Polsinelli building, roughly a block from its original location.