RE: [infoguys-list] (no subject)
- It seems to me that the defense is reaching .... the questions to ask are,
1) Would a legal tank have leaked if it had been certifiable under existing
law (and practice) [beyond the "normal" leak possible for a lose connection]
and if the "lose connection" is pinpointed, then again we ask would normal
tightening (as suggested by father in law) have resulted in a valve rupture?
While the overall circumstances may be mitigated by the stupidity of Fred
(there is no enforceable law against stupidity) his actions are secondary
causes that derive directly from the proximate cause, i.e. the bad tank
From: Jurydoctor@... [mailto:Jurydoctor@...]
Sent: Thursday, August 26, 2004 9:36 AM
To: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Subject: [infoguys-list] (no subject)
Names have been changed. Need your opinions ASAP. thanks in advance. Have
Fred and Ginger . had been married for several years. Ginger had three
children, a son, fourteen and twins, (a boy and a girl) aged eleven from a
previous relationship and marriage. Fred, Ginger and all three of the
In the fall and winter of 2001-2002, Fred had built a bedroom in an
unfinished basement for the oldest boy so that he could have his own room
The room was basically a box built within the unfinished basement. The room
heated with an LP gas heater and Fred had been utilizing 20 lb. LP gas
cylinders mounted within the basement and feeding LP gas to the wall heater
oldest child's bedroom. Because of the frequency with which the smaller
were used up during the winter months, Eddie wanted to obtain a 100 lb.
A friend of his was cleaning out some sheds on a piece of property he rented
and told Fred there was a 100 lb. cylinder in one of the sheds and Fred
have it if he wanted it.
Fred obtained the cylinder and took it to Shoppette, a convenience store
which had a propane tank filling facility provided by Blo Gas, Inc.
State law and federal regulations require that propane tanks be recertified
within twelve years after the date of manufacture and then every five years
thereafter. Although the tank which Fred had obtained looked fine, it was
manufactured in 1949 and had never been recertified. Additionally, the
valve on the
tank had been manufactured I 1952 and although there are no state or federal
regulations mandating the replacement of valves on LP tanks, the
of the valve recommends that they be replaced after ten years.
The clerk at shopette (who had been trained and certified to fill propane
tanks by Blo) failed to inspect the tank and note that it was out of
certification. The clerk filled the tank with 100 lbs. of propane on the
February 18, 2002, after which Fred and a friend took the tank to the home
placed it in the basement. Later that evening, Fred hooked the propane tank
to the gas line leading to the wall heater in his stepson's room, but when
turned the handle to allowed gas to flow out of the tank, he noted there was
small leak around the shaft of the valve. Fred closed the valve and called
his father who was experienced in installing LP tanks and asked if there was
anything he could do about the leak. Fred's father told him to tighten the
at the base of the valve.
While Fred was attempting to tighten the nut at the base of the valve, the
pressure relief valve (located on the side of the LP gas valve assembly and
designed through a spring-loaded valve to allow excess pressure to escape)
off, which allowed the LP gas to escape at a very high rate. Ginger heard
loud roaring noise of the LP gas escaping through the open pressure relief
valve and ran downstairs. She asked what had happened and Fred told her
the pressure relief spring and cap had "popped off" at which point Ginger
"We need to open the doors to let the gas escape."
As FRed and Ginger opened the doors to the basement, the gas reached an
ignition source (probably the hot water heater which was located in the
area of the basement) and an explosion occurred. Fred and Ginger were
out into the yard, with FREd suffering a concussion and Ginger suffering a
ruptured spleen. The explosion and ensuing fire claimed the lives of all
of the children who were in their bed rooms in the house.
Both the owner of Shoppette and the managers and safety directors of Blo
have admitted that it was illegal to fill the LP gas tank. They contend
however, that Fred was the sole cause of the explosion and death of the
by virtue of having brought the LP gas tank into an enclosed area. Their
position is that Fred must have simply unscrewed the cap holding the
relief valve in, allowing all of the gas to escape. There is no evidence of
having disturbed the pressure relief valve and cap, as there is no damage to
the threads on the valve where the pressure relief valve cap was located
crimped onto the valve, and additionally, even on the evening of the
in an interview given to the Fire Marshall, Fred maintained that the cap and
spring "just popped out". There is no doubt that the gas escaped as a
of the pressure relief cap and valve being off of the tank as the valve
itself was fused in the "closed" position in the fire. The pressure relief
mechanism and the cap designed to hold it in were never found after the
The Defense contends that for some reason, Fred too a pipe wrench or pliers
and unscrewed the cap holding the pressure relief valve in and , thus
all of the gas to escape.
1. Who is responsible for the deaths of the three children?
2. Given the fact that Ginger cannot have any other children, what do you
feel represents fair and adequate compensation for the full value of the
her three children?
3. Although Fred and Ginger have no children, they are still married and
living together. Would that fact in any way affect your opinion? If so,
4. Would it affect any of your opinions if it came into evidence that at
emergency room on a routine toxicology screen performed on all ER trauma
patients, Fred tested positive for amphetamines and marijuana although there
evidence of impairment.
5. Would the fact that Ginger knew the propane tank was in an enclosed
lead you to believe that she was responsible for the loss of her children?
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