The wife of a Texas natural gas worker has filed a lawsuit for damages over $250 million after an explosion occurred at a site that her husband was conducting an inspection on. The lawsuit names Bobcat Contracting and Atmos Energy as defendants.
Melissa Tarver’s lawsuit over the death of Deric Tarver alleges that contractors working for Bobcat Contracting did not properly ground the site. That grounding is essential to ensuring that sparks and other inadvertent electrical discharges don’t ignite any natural gas that may be flowing through the system or leftover residual gas that could be present when the system is shut down.
Deric Tarver was conducting a pipeline inspection using a probe and was under the impression that the traps he was using to insert that probe were properly grounded when a static electricity discharge ignited residual gas in the line and it exploded, killing Tarver and a co-worker and injuring two others. The lawsuit alleges gross negligence on the part of Bobcat Contracting and Atmos Energy for failing to ensure that the workers were working in safe conditions. Tarver’s lawsuit also alleges that the pipeline was not properly maintained and that employees working on the pipeline were not properly trained on how to work that pipeline safely and properly.
This is not the first time an Atmos Energy natural gas pipeline explosion has caused death and destruction. 12-year-old Linda “Michellita” Rogers was killed in February of 2018 in northwest Dallas. Atmos Energy was found to be at fault in that incident by the Railroad Commission of Texas and proposed a $1.6 million fine for the company. The lawsuit was later settled by the family for an undisclosed amount.