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Thompson v. City of Bushnell

OPINION FILED NOVEMBER 14, 1952

MYRTLE THOMPSON, AS ADMINISTRATOR OF ESTATE OF HERMAN THOMPSON, DECEASED, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

CITY OF BUSHNELL, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal by defendant from the Circuit Court of McDonough county; the Hon. WILLIAM M. BARDENS, Judge, presiding. Heard in this court at the October, 1952. Affirmed. Opinion filed November 14, 1952. Released for publication December 26, 1952.

MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE WHEAT DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.

This is an action under the Injuries Act for the alleged wrongful death of Herman Thompson, by his administrator, Myrtle Thompson, plaintiff-appellee, against the City of Bushnell, a municipal corporation, defendant-appellant. On the verdict of a jury judgment was entered for plaintiff in the sum of $15,000 and costs. Motion for a new trial was denied and this appeal follows.

The complaint consisted of two counts. In Count I plaintiff alleged that Herman Thompson and his widow and next of kin, up to and at the time of the explosion, were each free from any fault or negligence contributing to his death, and that the defendant city was guilty of negligence in one or more of the following respects, in that it negligently and wrongfully did, or failed to do, one or more of the following:

(a) Operated and controlled its sewers in a dangerous and unsafe condition by allowing butane gas to accumulate therein;

(b) Allowed gas to escape from its gas mains and enter or seep and percolate into its sewers, including the sewer main serving the Thompson residence;

(c) Allowed gas to escape from its gas distribution mains and enter the basement of the Thompson residence;

(d) Allowed gas to escape from service connections of customers to the City Gas distribution mains, and enter into the sewer servicing the Thompson residence;

(e) Failed to maintain reasonable inspection of its gas distribution mains, thereby creating a dangerous condition;

(f) Failed to maintain reasonable inspection of its gas service connections, thereby permitting its gas to escape from the same and accumulate in explosive quantities in the sewer servicing the Thompson residence;

(g) Failed to shut off gas or remedy the dangerous condition after the City had knowledge of the dangerous condition existing and that such condition could reasonably cause injury to Herman Thompson.

(h) Failed to discover or repair leaks in its gas mains, thereby allowing gas to escape and enter the sewer servicing the Thompson residence.

(i) So made service connections to its gas distribution mains whereby gas escaped from the same and entered the sewer main servicing the Thompson residence;

(j) Allowed butane gas to collect in its sewers, including the sewer main servicing the Thompson residence;

(k) Failed to remove butane gas after the same had seeped or percolated into its sewers, including the sewer main servicing the Thompson residence in explosive quantities;

Plaintiff further alleged that as a direct and proximate result of one or more of the foregoing alleged acts of negligence or omissions of duty, the said gas entered the basement of the Thompson house and violently exploded on July 9, 1948, when Herman Thompson struck a match to burn some papers in his furnace.

Plaintiff further alleged that the defendant had notice and knowledge of the alleged dangerous condition existing in the sewer on Wells Street servicing the Thompson residence and knew or by reasonable care should have known, that gas from its gas plant was escaping from its distribution ...


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