Rimkus Consulting Group, Inc

QPWB Gets Summary Judgement for Propane Company Following Accident

Brian Bellavia, Managing Partner at Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A.’s Jacksonville office, received final summary judgment against the plaintiffs on behalf of a supplier of liquid propane gas. Two Plaintiffs sadly sustained significant burns when an outdoor propane grill experienced a sudden combustion resulting in significant burns. The medical treatment exceeded $1 million. The settlement demand was nearly $4 million.

Plaintiffs alleged that the propane grill was improperly vented and QPWB’s client, the LP gas supplier owed a duty to inspect the grill to ensure that it was safe for use. There was evidence that the LP gas supplier connected the grill to the LP gas line that supplied fuel to the grill. The home had an underground LP tank that supplied fuel to the home. The LP gas was piped to several appliances including this backyard summer kitchen grill.

Assisted by a well-qualified expert, QPWB argued that the LP supplier did not have a ‘duty’ to inspect each appliance to ensure that it was safe for use. Mr. Bellavia argued that the LP suppler did not design the grill in question and did not build or design the ‘cabinet’ in which the grill was placed. It was also pointed out that, the grill did, in fact, comply with all applicable codes and standards as it was installed in compliance with manufacture instructions.

After extensive briefing and oral argument, an order was entered in February of 2023 awarding final summary judgment to the LP Gas Company. The Court has retained jurisdiction for the award of costs and attorney’s fees against the Plaintiff’s.

This case stands as an example of how crucial it is to dig deep into a case to get a win for your client because a loss could result in significant financial and reputational damage to the company. In the case of QPWB’s client, a verdict in favor of the plaintiffs could have resulted in a settlement demand of nearly $4 million, which would have been a significant financial burden on the LP Gas Company. Additionally, a loss in the case could have negatively impacted the company’s reputation and future business opportunities.

QPWB’s thorough analysis of the evidence and use of a well-qualified expert helped them to argue that the LP supplier did not have a "duty" to inspect each appliance to ensure that it was safe for use. The LP supplier was able to avoid liability by demonstrating that they did not design or build the grill, and that it complied with all applicable codes and standards.

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Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A.

QPWB is the largest minority and women-owned law firm in the nation. QPWB handles premises liability, products liability, liquor and food liability, transportation, construction defect, and all other types of negligence and tort actions such as personal injury, employment, and workers’ compensation. QPWB has been assigned an AV-rating by Martindale-Hubbellî Law Directory, indicating the firm has attained the highest rank for ethical standards and legal ability.

Eric Boyer