A jury has ordered Time Warner Cable to pay the owners JJ's Restaurant in Kansas City, Missouri $5.78 million in property damage and lost income resulting from a deadly explosion in 2013, reports the Associated Press. Time Warner Cable's hired contractors hit a gas line with an underground borer while digging near the restaurant, triggering a massive explosion that leveled the restaurant. The disaster resulted in the death of waitress Megan Cramer and injuries of more than a dozen people.
Brothers David and Jimmy Frantze, who own JJ's, sought $9 million in the civil case against the cable company and USIC Locating Services. Lawyers representing the restaurant argued that USIC improperly marked the locations of the underground utilities and Time Warner did now show enough concern for the project that was taking place in a densely populated area. Time Warner and USIC countered that Missouri Gas Energy did not respond quickly enough to the gas leak and restaurant employees failed to turn off pilot lights.
The Time Warner contractor, Heartland Midwest, and Missouri Gas Energy were dismissed from the case, though the gas company agreed to increase training and update emergency procedures. According to KSHB, court documents released prior to the trial revealed that one first responder Michael Palier from the gas company was dismissive of complaints of gas fumes made by workers in the area. Heartland Midwest also allegedly too almost 50 minutes to report the emergency gas leak.
The jury found Time Warner 98 percent responsible and JJ's 2 percent responsible. USIC was not found liable. In a statement to the Associated Press, a spokesman for Time Warner says, "We know no court decision can undo this tragedy." Adding, "We'll take some time to review the court's decision before deciding our next step in this case."
According to KSHB, personal injury lawsuits and wrongful death lawsuits in the case of server Megan Cramer were settled out of court for an unknown amount, while one lawsuit filed by injured sous chef Patrick Woodward was dismissed. JJ's Restaurant reopened in a new location last fall.