On September 13, 2018, a series of gas explosions and resulting fires devastated The communities of Lawrence, Andover, in North Andover, Massachusetts. The gas fires and explosions killed a Lawrence teenager, injured two dozen others and left more than 100 homes damaged or destroyed, and displaced thousands. Lawyers from Lawrence reached out to Bailey & Glasser’s Boston office to request assistance in bringing a class action to help the people of the affected communities.
On January 14th, Massachusetts Superior Court Judge James Lang adopted the proposal put forth by a consolidated team of plaintiffs’ lawyers, sending all of the class action cases involving the gas disaster to mediation. Judge Lang appointed three lawyers to lead the suit, John Roddy of Bailey & Glasser, Frank Petosa of Morgan & Morgan, and Elizabeth Graham of Grant & Eisenhofer. Roddy, Petosa, and Graham will lead a collaborative team of experienced class action lawyers from firms across the country who are working together in trying to mediate a global resolution of the catastrophe with Columbia Gas of Massachusetts and its parent company, NiSource Inc.
John Roddy said that ”this situation has put many people and small businesses in a life changing situation. The sooner we can craft a solution to this problem the more people we will be able to help. Going directly to mediation holds the prospect of providing that help much more quickly and to a greater extent than would be likely if the two sides were engaged in litigation at the outset.”
Judge Lang’s order stays the consolidated litigation for 90 days, beginning January 14th, to provide time for the mediation to unfold.