$50M lawsuit filed against Consumers Energy for Flint explosion that killed 2
SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (FOX 2) - Two weeks after a deadly explosion in Flint killed a woman and toddler, Southfield Attorney Geoffrey Fieger is filing a $50 million lawsuit on behalf of the Rochowiak family against Consumers Energy.
Losing their lives in the explosion was Lisa Rochowiak and toddler NuVeah Lucas at the home of one of her neighbors.
"They have to be responsible for the consequences of the delivery of their product, they are not immune," said Fieger.
Fieger says a gas explosion in a Flint neighborhood in November was the result of negligence that could have been avoided if Consumers Energy had acted on the concerns of its customers.
"Consumers knows very well that the gas leaked outside of the home," he said. "Consumers knows very well, that they were called on numerous occasions, not only by Lisa who called that morning but also that other property owners who called days before, reporting some ungodly smells related to gas."
Feiger maintains that if appropriate steps had been taken - lives would have been saved.
"Consumers energy people came, they claimed it was no problem and yet we know later that day, Lisa’s house exploded, she died - a neighbor’s child died, numerous homes were damaged," he said.
And now Rochowiak’s family is trying to move forward without their loved one.
"They are very upset, she had a daughter, she had a son, they were very close to her, and they’re very upset about this," Fieger said.
FOX 2 requested an on-camera interview with Consumers Energy, the company declined and released a statement, which said:
"Our hearts continue to go out to residents of this community. We have completed field evaluation of our equipment, facilities and service, working alongside law enforcement and other agencies, and determined there were no issues relating to our natural gas system and service.
"Consumers Energy has no record of being notified of a gas leak in the home or any related issue prior to the incident. We believe the allegations in the lawsuit are inaccurate and that the legal claims are without merit."
"That’s laughable - Consumers knows it’s responsible," he said. "It’s a gas explosion as a result of something that occurred in the gas lines, of not just this house but it occurred outside the home."
FOX 2 also reached out to the family of toddler, NuVeah Lucas, who was killed in this tragic incident and they declined to comment.
Fieger says it’s possible that a class action lawsuit against Consumers Energy could be next.
"It could, for reasons that there are many property owners involved in this case, also," said Fieger. "And they suffered significant damage to their homes."
Consumers Energy has 30 days to respond to the lawsuit.
"They should spend as much money maintaining their system as as they do charging and paying their executives millions of dollars," Fieger said.
The full response is below:
"Consumers Energy is aware of a lawsuit filed following the November house explosion in Flint. Our hearts continue to go out to residents of this community. We have completed field evaluation of our equipment, facilities and service, working alongside law enforcement and other agencies. Our investigation shows there were no leaks or other issues relating to our natural gas system, equipment, or service outside the home. Additionally, Consumers Energy has reviewed internal call logs and vehicle tracking data, all of which confirms that we were not notified of a gas leak in the home or any related issue prior to the incident. Contrary statements in the lawsuit documents are false, and the legal claims are baseless."
Media Relations Manager