Man sues contractor and Centerpoint Energy over Arkansas Convention Center 2013 explosion


A Malvern, Ark., man who was seriously injured while installing heating units at the Arkansas Convention Center during its construction in 2013, is suing Centerpoint Energy, the general contractor and a plumbing sub-subcontractor in federal court.

Jeremy Davis and Landmark American Insurance Company filed suit Tuesday in the Texarkana Division of the Western District of Arkansas against four Centerpoint companies, EBCO General Contractors, Reliance Plumbing Group and Reliance Mechanical Contractors. Davis was badly burned when an explosion occurred Sept. 6, 2013 while he was installing heating equipment as an employee of sub-contractor Daniell Heating and Air. The complaint alleges he has amassed more than $300,000 in medical bills since the accident.

The complaint accuses Centerpoint of breaking state and federal laws by pumping gas into the Arkansas Convention Center and Holiday Inn which didn’t contain a chemical that gives natural gas, which is odorless, a unique smell. The oderant lets people with a normal sense of smell know when there is gas, which is highly flammable, leaking into the air.

As the general contractor, the suit alleges EBCO is liable for the work of its subs. EBCO should have tested the gas Centerpoint was feeding the construction project to insure it met established standards, the suit alleges. Reliance is accused of improperly installing a vented high-pressure regulator at the hotel and of failing to purge the gas pipes which supply gas to the heating units on which Davis was working.

The suit alleges breach of contract and negligence. Landmark is seeking to recoup money it has paid out as a result of the explosion. Davis is seeking compensation for his past and future medical expenses, past and future pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of earning capacity “due to permanent physical impairment,” past and future mental anguish, and for “permanent scarring and disfigurement.”

None of the defendants has responded to the complaint. The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Susan Hickey.

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