Time Plus News

Breaking News, Latest News, World News, Headlines and Videos

The lawsuit claims the Pennsylvania chocolate factory ignored signs before the accident

A Pennsylvania candy maker ignores warnings of a gas leak at its chocolate factory and is responsible for the aftermath Seven workers were killed in the explosion and injured several others, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday.

The family of Judith “Judy” Lopez-Moran, a 55-year-old mother of three, filed their first-ever wrongful-death lawsuit against the RM Palmer company after the March explosion in West Reading.

On the day of the explosion, workers smelled gas and notified Palmer, but the 75-year-old, family-owned company “did nothing,” the lawsuit said.

“The gas leak at the plant and the resulting catastrophic explosion were foreseeable, foreseeable and preventable,” the complaint said. “Tragically, the death and suffering of Judith Lopez-Moran was preventable.”

Gas utility UGI is also named in the lawsuit filed in Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. The company declined to comment on pending litigation.

Authorities are still investigating the cause of the blast, which leveled a building at the factory complex and damaged several other buildings in West Reading.

Federal safety officials previously confirmed they were studying the role of natural gas pipelines in the explosion. The National Transportation Safety Board called what happened a “natural gas” explosion and fire, citing preliminary information from local authorities and the utility about the pipeline’s role.


A Pennsylvania candy maker ignored warnings of a gas leak at its chocolate factory and is responsible for the subsequent explosion that killed seven workers, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday, April 11.

Reading Eagle via Ben Hastie/AP

Complaints of smell of gas before the explosion

Palmer officials should have evacuated immediately after being notified of the gas smell but instead “made a representation to factory workers, including Judith Lopez-Moran, that the factory was safe and there was no gas leak,” the lawsuit states.

Palmer, according to the suit, “intended to distract factory workers … so that factory workers could continue working and to minimize factory downtime.”

Patricia Borges, who survived the blast and was a friend and colleague of Lopez-Moran, previously described how her arm was on fire as flames engulfed the building. He then Liquid chocolate falls through the floor into a vat. Borges told The Associated Press how he and others complained about the smell of gas about 30 minutes before the factory exploded.

Palmer expressed his condolences but has not said anything else since the explosion. The candy company, which makes seasonal chocolates for occasions like Easter, Christmas and Halloween, employs about 850 people, according to its website. The factory in West Reading has been there since the early 1960s.

“A valued member of the Palmer team”

“The seven people we lost will always be in our prayers, and we wish a speedy recovery to those who were injured. Many of the people we have worked together over the years have become personal friends and all valued members of the Palmer team. They will be missed. An eternity will be felt,” Five days after the explosion, Palmer’s family said in a statement.

Saltz Mongeluzzi Bendeschi, the law firm representing Lopez-Moran’s family, said it represented more than a dozen victims of the explosion.

Trending news

Source link