Lawyers are expected to deliver closing arguments Tuesday in the civil trial involving JJ’s restaurant.
Brothers David and Jimmy Frantze, who operated the popular restaurant near the Country Club Plaza with manager Matt Nichols, have been seeking more than $9 million in damages to help offset the loss of the business, its wine collection and the costs of starting a new restaurant just south of the old location.
Their lawsuit stems from the February 2013 natural-gas explosion and fire that destroyed the original restaurant at 910 W. 48th St. The incident killed one restaurant employee and injured 15 others.
Testimony in the trial began late last month at the Jackson County Courthouse.
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Two defendants, Missouri Gas Energy and Heartland Midwest, a company contracted to drill horizontal underground paths for fiber-optic cable, have been dismissed from the case.
Lawyers representing Time Warner Cable and USIC Locating Services, which marks the location of underground utility lines, have been detailing for jurors the cause of the catastrophe as well as the quality of the emergency response by Missouri Gas Energy.
On Monday, Michael Pratt, a North Carolina fire and explosion investigator, told lawyer David Helms that Missouri Gas Energy employees failed to follow their own emergency protocols when responding to reports of gas leaks at the site.
In March, Missouri Gas Energy settled a complaint alleging that it failed to take adequate measures to ensure safety in the blast. In the settlement, approved by the Missouri Public Service Commission, the company agreed to change some of its emergency procedures and to increase training.
The company, in the settlement, continued to deny any violation of safety rules.
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