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Attorney Says Fairport Harbor Victims Need Help Now

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Mentor, OHThe small town of Fairport Harbor 30 miles from Cleveland has not been the same since a major gas explosion accident on January 24 rocked the picture-perfect community, destroying an apartment building and damaging at least 15 homes. Mercifully, no one was killed when the Dominion Gas line serving the town malfunctioned and forced 3,000 people to evacuate the town early on a cold winter morning.

Service to Fairport Harbor has been restored, but attorney Mark DiCello, whose firm represents many of the town's residents in a class-action complaint against Dominion Gas, says the lack of an explanation for the accident plus the company's resistance to paying out-of-pocket expenses before the claim is settled is devastating the community.

"It is a shame that Dominion's corporate position is that it will not pay out of pocket costs without first forcing victims to sign away their legal rights," says DiCello. He has asked the courts to appoint a special master to determine victims' claims and oversee the process as has been done in similar complex litigation situations.

"There are people who have lost everything, there are people who have had who knows how many fast food breakfasts and this is getting very old for them," says DiCello. "People tell us, they can't sleep at night, and they think they smell gas, or they think they hear something."

DiCello has filed a complex class-action complaint alleging the cause of the early morning explosion Dominion Gas failed in its duty to maintain its gas distribution system. "There were faulty pressure regulators, faulty piping and other materials," says DiCello. "The essence of the suit is that homes aren't supposed to explode."

It may take some time to determine the scope of the losses for the people of Fairport Harbor, but in the meantime, DiCello says, Dominion Gas has to be willing to lend a hand. "We want them to do the right thing, we want them to step up and pay the claims and not make these claims conditional on a release," says DiCello. "In a situation like this, where people have lost everything, you can't immediately determine the scope of loss."

Mark DiCello obtained his JD from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland University. He is a former assistant prosecutor and advocate for mental health and the rights of the homeless. DiCello law has expertise in mass torts, complex litigation, wrongful death and trucking litigation and has won numerous multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts for its clients.


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