Friday, June 03, 2005

Man sues for $10M in West Virginia toilet explosion

Thanks to Chris for pointing out this article in today's USA Today online.

Apparently, John Jenkins was severely burned last July after he sat down in a portable toilet, struck a match to light a cigarette, and the flame ignited methane gas leaking from a pipe underneath the toilet unit. Jenkins' suit seeks $10 million in damages from Chisler Inc. and Eastern Associated Coal Corp. arising out of the incident.

1 comment:

Tom Rodd, Clerk, WV S. Ct. said...

There is very little new under the sun:

"It appears that plaintiff was visiting his aunt, Martha Dowler, in the town of Cameron in August, 1909, and that while there he had occasion to use the privy, a small wooden structure, about 3 by 5 feet in size, standing in the yard a few feet from the house. On entering, he closed the door, seated himself, and remained in there for several minutes. When he had concluded his mission, he adjusted his clothes, and, before opening the door, struck a match to relight his cigar which had gone out in the meantime, and there was a sudden explosion of gas, so terrific that it blew the door off its hinges, a portion of the roof off the building, and blew plaintiff out through the doorway and up against the side of the dwelling house, severely burning him. A small sewer pipe leads from the vault of the privy, and connects with the main sewer in the street. Defendant owns and operates a gas pipe line in the town, which is buried in the street very near to the sewer pipe, and which is parallel to it for a long distance. The negligence complained of is that the defendant suffered the gas to escape from its pipe line into the main sewer, and thence through the small sewer into the privy, and that it accumulated in there in such quantity in the short time plaintiff was in there as to explode when he attempted to relight his cigar.

76 S.E. 845, 71 W.Va. 417, Dowler v. Citizens' Gas & Oil Co., (W.Va. 1912)