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$40 MILLION SETTLEMENT WON FOR FAMILY INJURED IN EXPLOSION

 $40 MILLION SETTLEMENT WON FOR FAMILY INJURED IN EXPLOSION
 CHRISTIAN COUNTY, Ky., Oct. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- The Probate Court of Christian County, Ky., today approved a settlement which will pay a Leary, Ga., family in excess of $40 million.
 The settlement, approved by the United States District Court in Atlanta Oct. 15, was for injuries sustained in a propane gas explosion in the family's home last New Year's Eve.
 The settlement provides compensation for second- and third-degree burns suffered by six of the seven Harris family members. Elizabeth Harris and her five children, ages 3 to 13, were hospitalized at the burn center of Humana Hospital in Augusta, three in critical condition, after the explosion. Sgt. Orrealus Harris, the children's father, was stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky., at the time of the blast.
 The Harrises' attorneys, Michael J. Warshauer and F. Tucker Burge of the law firm Burge & Wettermark, secured the settlement in an out-of- court agreement with Star Gas Corp. d/b/a Greene's Propane Gas in Albany, Ga., which installed a propane gas tank and heater at the Harrises' house in Leary the day of the explosion.
 Sgt. Harris, on behalf of his wife and children, filed six separate lawsuits in Atlanta on Jan. 6, against the gas company. The Georgia State Fire Marshal's office determined the cause of the explosion to be an open gas line in a bedroom of the house that employees of Greene's Propane Gas failed to cap. In the lawsuits, the Harrises and their attorneys sought punitive and compensatory damages for the gas company's negligence in causing the explosion.
 "The defendants were clearly negligent in failing to exercise even ordinary care to confirm that all gas lines leading into the house were capped and sealed and to ensure that propane gas was not leaking into the Harris home," said Warshauer.
 "We believe the amount of the settlement to be fair and appropriate," said Burge. "The Harrises suffered incredible injuries and will carry the physical and mental scars with them for the rest of the their lives."
 Burge & Wettermark limits its practice to the trial and settlement of serious injury and wrongful death cases throughout the Southeast. It has offices in Atlanta and Birmingham, Ala.
 -0- 10/16/92
 /CONTACT: Heather Jameson of Rountree Group, 404-252-7577, for Burge & Wettermark/ CO: Burge & Wettermark; Star Gas Corp.; Greene's Propane Gas ST: Kentucky, Georgia IN: SU:


BR-BN -- AT007 -- 1025 10/16/92 14:22 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 16, 1992
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