ACE AMERICAN INS. CO. v. KEYSTONE CONSTRUCTION & MAINTENANCE SERVICES, INC.
ACE AMERICAN INS. CO., et al., Plaintiffs,
KEYSTONE CONSTRUCTION & MAINTENANCE SERVICES, INC., et al., Defendants.
No. 3:11cv1136 (SRU).
United States District Court, D. Connecticut.
September 27, 2012.
RULING ON MOTIONS TO DISMISS
STEFAN R. UNDERHILL, District Judge.
This case arises from the February 7, 2010 natural gas explosion at Kleen Energy Systems' ("Kleen") power plant in Middletown, Connecticut ("Kleen Plant"). The complaint was filed on July 19, 2011. Over the next several months, motions to dismiss were filed by the following defendants: Bluewater Energy Solutions, Inc. ("Bluewater"); Keystone Construction and Maintenance Services, Inc. ("Keystone"); Sprague Energy Corp. ("Sprague"); WorleyParsons Group, Inc. ("WorleyParsons"); Siemens Energy, Inc. ("Siemens"); Algonquin Gas Transmission LLC ("Algonquin"); and Spectra Energy, Inc. ("Spectra"). Sprague also filed a motion to strike the answer to the third-party complaint. On February 17, 2012, I heard oral arguments on the motions to dismiss. At the conclusion of that hearing, I took the motions to dismiss under advisement.
For the reasons stated below, I grant the following motions: doc. 63 (Bluewater's motion to dismiss), doc. 65 (Keystone's motion to dismiss), doc. 156 (Sprague's motion to dismiss), doc. 159 (WorleyParsons' motion to dismiss), doc. 162 (Siemens' motion to dismiss), and doc. 173 (Algonquin and Spectra's motion to dismiss). I deny doc. 137 (Sprague's motion to strike) and doc. 188 (Sprague's motion to file a third-party complaint).
On February 7, 2010, there was a natural gas explosion at the Kleen Plant, resulting in deaths, injuries, and significant property damage. The explosion occurred during a gas blow. A "gas blow" is an operation during which natural gas is forced through piping at high pressure and velocity, in order to remove debris before the piping is used to deliver natural gas to gas turbines. During the gas blow, debris and natural gas are expelled through temporary gas piping into the atmosphere, where the gas is intended to disperse. Gas blows are inherently dangerous, because the accumulation of static electricity from the flow of gas, and expelled debris sparking against nearby objects, can cause the gas to self-ignite. Kleen was unaware of the highly dangerous nature of the gas blow process. Kleen was also unaware that the attendant hazards of a gas blow could not be eliminated.
On February 7, the temporary gas piping used to expel natural gas was not directed vertically up into the atmosphere. Instead, the temporary piping was almost horizontal, directing the expelled natural gas and debris into a confined area with numerous sources of ignition. Also in that confined area were workers, who were engaged in welding and other activities.