Colonial Pipeline is facing more legal trouble in the wake of its deadly 2016 pipeline explosion near Pelham, Alabama, that killed two workers and seriously injured five others.
A new lawsuit filed July 9 in a Fulton County, Georgia State Court accuses Colonial Pipeline and a contractor of wrongful death, negligence, and wantonness, among other charges, in connection to the Oct. 31, 2016 explosion, according to the Daily Report.
The lawsuit was filed by the widow of one of the workers killed in the blast and another worker who was seriously injured.
The plaintiffs allege that a Colonial Pipeline project inspector did not show up at the site of a September 2016 pipeline leak that released more than 300,000 gallons of gasoline into a wooded area near the Cahaba River Wildlife Management Area.
According to the lawsuit, an inspector for contractor and co-defendant Superior Land Designs “had requested documentation from [Colonial project inspector Nicky Cobb] regarding the location of the pipeline at the excavation sites, but the information was not provided.”
Instead of going to the excavation site or responding to the inquiry, Mr. Cobb directed the Superior Land Designs inspector to proceed with the excavation anyway, the complaint alleges.
A trackhoe operator was then instructed by the contractor to proceed with the digging. Shortly after, the trackhoe struck and ruptured a segment of the pipeline, sending what first responders called a “burning geyser of gasoline” into the air.
The blast killed one worker at the scene and the husband of the plaintiff with the wrongful death claim died three weeks later of his injuries. The other plaintiff in the suit was seriously injured along with four other workers who were at the site when the accident occurred.
Additionally, the explosion released more than 170,000 gallons of gas and caused a disruption in the national fuel supply, sending gasoline prices soaring in parts of the country.
Atlanta-based Colonial Pipeline owns the largest gasoline pipeline system in the U.S. Its main artery runs from Houston, Texas, to New Jersey with several offshoots throughout the Eastern Seaboard. It also has one of the worst regulatory safety records compared to other major pipeline owners.
According to the Daily Report, a group of landowners near the spill site sued Colonial last year, seeking compensation for property damage. Earlier this year, the State of Alabama announced a $3.3 million settlement with Colonial settling environmental damage claims stemming from the accident.