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Friday, May. 03, 2013

JJ’s owner files suit against Missouri Gas Energy and three other companies

The Kansas City Star

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The owner of the Plaza restaurant destroyed in a February natural gas explosion filed suit Friday against Missouri Gas Energy.

The suit filed in Jackson County Circuit Court on behalf of JJ’s restaurant and owner Jimmy Frantze also names several other companies involved in the drilling project that was taking place outside the restaurant on Feb. 19 when a gas line was severed.

The resulting explosion killed one JJ’s employee, injured at least 14 people and leveled the building at 48th Street and Belleview Avenue.

The suit filed by attorney Steven G. Emerson alleges that the explosion occurred as a result of a series of negligent acts by the companies involved in drilling outside the restaurant to install fiber-optic cable.

The suit also alleges that Missouri Gas Service and its employee who responded to the scene after the gas line was cut were negligent in failing to promptly stanch the flow of gas after the rupture. The suit goes on to contend that they were further negligent in not shutting off the gas and electricity to JJ’s as the building filled with gas.

The restaurant and Frantze suffered millions of dollars in losses as a result, including the destruction of its collection of 15,000 bottles of vintage wine, according to the lawsuit.

The other defendants are Heartland Midwest, Time Warner Cable Midwest and USIC Locating Services Inc.

Friday’s suit is the third filed since the explosion. The earlier suits were filed on behalf of restaurant employees injured and left jobless as a result of the explosion.

To reach Tony Rizzo, call 816-234-4435 or send email to trizzo@kcstar.com.

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