$143M gas explosions settlement gets preliminary approval

SALEM, Mass. (AP) — A judge has given preliminary approval to a $143 million settlement in a lawsuit brought against the utility blamed for a series of gas explosions in Massachusetts in September 2018.

Superior Court Judge James Lang wrote in the approval released Friday that the settlement “appears to be fair, reasonable, adequate and sufficient.”

The proposal to distribute proceeds from the settlement against Columbia Gas of Massachusetts calls for six categories of lump sum payouts, ranging from up to $50 for a “nominal” disruption to up to $15,000 for a “major” disruption.

The Sept. 13, 2018 disaster in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover, killed one, injured dozens of other people and destroyed or damaged about 100 structures. It was blamed on over-pressurized gas lines.

A final approval hearing is scheduled for Feb. 27.