Suit settled in case of gas pad truck hitting home
A lawsuit over an accident in which a welding truck rolled off a natural gas drilling pad and into a Rulison home has been settled just days before the case was scheduled to go to trial.
The settlement comes more than two years after the Nov. 25, 2007, event in which the unmanned truck headed a quarter-mile downhill through a field before striking the house of Travis and Diana Casey. Travis watched the accident from the field, and Diana and her daughter were inside the house when it occurred.
No one was injured, but the Caseys said the crash shifted the triple-wide modular by as much as a half-inch, cracked the foundation and caused other damage.
The lawsuit named as defendants energy company Williams Production RMT, drilling contractor Cyclone Drilling and Cyclone’s employee Raymond Dawkins, who had driven the truck just prior to the accident.
Williams Production RMT spokeswoman Susan Alvillar declined to comment on the case other than to say it had been settled. Neither representatives for Cyclone nor the Caseys and their attorney could be reached for comment Friday.
The case had been scheduled for a five-day jury trial starting Monday. The parties submitted a stipulation for dismissal of the lawsuit March 23. Financial terms of the settlement weren’t disclosed.
According to court documents, a mediation process brought to light that the cost to restore the home was at least $375,000, and the Caseys incurred another $50,000 for costs, including moving and loss of use.
Williams had offered a two-bedroom house to the family as a temporary shelter, but the Caseys decided that was too small for them and their two teenage children. They put their personal belongings into storage, and after Diana’s grandfather died, they moved into his house elsewhere on the property.
The family also claimed noneconomic damages, such as emotional distress, but court filings indicate Cyclone disputed those claims. Family members said the incident resulted in lingering emotional impacts, such as difficulty sleeping.
Cyclone denied being negligent, questioned the extent of damages to the home and contended there was negligent construction of the foundation.
Williams argued it wasn’t liable for the actions or inactions of other parties and asserted cross claims against Cyclone. It said Cyclone had agreed in a drilling contract to hold Williams harmless from any claims or liabilities.
At one point, Cyclone had gotten the case moved to federal court, but the Caseys later succeeded in having it remanded back to the state court system.